Meet the Judges 

Jamaal Abdul-Alim

Education editor, The Conversation

Jamaal Abdul-Alim is a longtime education journalist who resides in Washington, D.C. He currently serves as education editor at The Conversation. His articles have appeared in various newspapers and magazines, including Washington Monthly, The Wall Street Journal, and U.S. News & World Report. He has also served as a senior staff writer covering federal education policy for Diverse: Issues in Higher Education. He is an avid chess player and was once named "Chess Journalist of the Year."

Nona Cheeks 

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Chief, Strategic Partnerships Office

Nona Cheeks is the Chief of the Strategic Partnerships Office at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. She leads a team of scientist, engineers, and business professionals in a broad range of functions pertaining to understanding technology trends and priorities and identifying targets of collaboration. In this capacity, she oversees an extensive responsibility of leading the technology transfer partnerships and licensing activities as well as the small business innovation research projects at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Over the past 20 years, she has been an invited speaker at global conferences and meetings on the topic of innovative partnerships and novel technology transfer models.

Ms. Cheeks is a graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park, MD and received her MBA from Loyola College, Baltimore, MD.

Luke Lawal 

CEO and founder of HBCU Buzz 

Luke Lawal Jr. is CEO and founder of L & Company, a minority-based corporation in Los Angeles, California. His first foray into entrepreneurship began in 2011 during his undergraduate career at Bowie State University when he founded HBCU Buzz, a promotional and progressive brand created to generate awareness of collegiate culture. The Buzz promotes pride and unity within all HBCU communities to enhance the Black college experience. The company is currently the leading source of HBCU news for all historically black colleges and universities. Luke used his sharp methods matched with his passion for change, to lead HBCU Buzz to become “The most influential brand in the HBCU community” which also landed him a spot on the “DMV Top 30 Under 30” list in 2014.

To cultivate a unique space for men of color, Luke also cofounded Suited Lifestyle along with a colleague from Howard University before he graduated. Suited Lifestyle is designed to create an extensive network of young professionals and other progressive, like-minded individuals from various walks of life who all share a commitment to leadership, self-sufficiency, and peer-to-peer engagement through social and cultural events.

Today the young CEO and entrepreneur is focused on his next business venture, Taper, an app designed to change how hairstylists and barbers engage with their consumers. As well as his mental health entity Root Care Health.

Luke is also a Master Mason and a proud member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc.

Brian Ware 

Entrepreneurial director, National Society of Black Engineers

Brian Ware is the Co-Director of the National Society of Black Engineers Entrepreneur Special Interest Group, where he's creating and leading programming for over 20,000 members. He is also a founding member of the Black Entrepreneurs Leaders & Learners (BELL) group. He is the CEO and owner of Best Way Construction Services, a Construction Management Company. Founded in 2014, Best Way Construction Services serves clients in construction design, building, and consulting. Brian also owned and operated Rae's Centre City Market, a convenience store in Downtown San Diego for two years.

Ee Huei Sin

Senior Vice President, President, Electronic Industrial Solutions Group | Keysight Technologies 

Ee Huei Sin is senior vice president of Keysight Technologies, and president of the Electronic Industrial Solutions Group (EISG) which addresses the automotive, energy, general electronics, manufacturing, education, and semiconductor businesses.

She has more than 28 years of experience in managing a broad portfolio of businesses in the general purpose, electronics measurement, and semiconductor industries where she has held a variety of key global positions in marketing, manufacturing, order fulfillment, engineering, and business management.

Ee was previously the vice president and general manager of Keysight’s General Electronics Measurement Solutions where she drove the company’s diverse portfolio of businesses across the broad-based general electronics and education markets. This encompassed the consumer electronics, healthcare, and industrial and process control segments as well as the education eco-system comprising both teaching and research labs.

Concurrently, Ee was also the vice president of Keysight Education. In this role, she led the company-wide efforts to establish strong relationships with universities and advance long-term preference for the Keysight brand with future customers and employees.

Prior to Keysight, Ee served as the vice president and general manager of Agilent’s General-Purpose Electronic Measurement Division where she was responsible for the general-purpose electronic instruments and test tools.

She holds a bachelor of science degree in microelectronics and physics from Campbell University, North Carolina, and an executive education certification from Columbia Business School.

Marie Hattar

Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer | Keysight Technologies

Marie Hattar is Chief Marketing Officer of Keysight Technologies. As CMO, Hattar is responsible for Keysight's brand and global marketing efforts. She drives Keysight's corporate positioning, messaging and communications to both internal and external audiences. Hattar has more than 20 years of marketing leadership experience spanning the security, routing, switching, telecom and mobility markets.

Before becoming Keysight's CMO, Hattar was chief marketing officer at Ixia and at Check Point Software Technologies where she reestablished those companies as leaders in their industries. Prior to that, she was Vice President at Cisco where she led the company's enterprise networking and security portfolio and helped drive the company's leadership in networking. Hattar also worked at Nortel Networks, Alteon WebSystems, and Shasta Networks in senior marketing and CTO positions.

Hattar received a master's degree in Business Administration in Marketing from York University and a bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Toronto. 

Christopher Cain

Vice President and General Manager of Electronic Industrial Products | Keysight Technologies

Christopher has worked for Keysight Technologies for 36 years, with roles spanning Executive leadership, Strategic Planning, R&D and Manufacturing areas. Currently, he leads teams around the world that develop, deliver and sustain a broad range of Keysight’s electronic industrial products ranging from bench electronic instruments to advanced Industry 4.0 analytics, with innovative power and measurement technologies.

Christopher joined Hewlett-Packard in 1985 as an R&D engineer after graduating from the Iowa State University with a Bachelor Degree in Electrical/Computer Engineering and obtained his Master Degree in Computer Science from National Technology University in 1994, which hosted satellite-streamed classes from universities including MIT and Stanford. His career spans the spin-off transitions from Hewlett-Packard into Agilent Technologies in 1999 and into Keysight Technologies in 2014. Christopher has been awarded four US patents and currently resides in Santa Rosa California. 

Jeff Harris

Vice President, Global Corporate and Portfolio Marketing | Keysight Technologies

Jeff Harris leads global portfolio and corporate marketing for Keysight Technologies including product marketing, brand, corporate communications, in addition to all the company’s digital marketing channels. Jeff has led the transformation of Keysight’s global brand, content strategy, and digital channel transformations creating awareness and influencing customer preference. Jeff also drives thought-leadership initiatives to surface stories of how Keysight accelerates innovation and helps customers win in their markets.

As a former product development leader for commercial and government applications at companies like ViaSat, General Atomics, and Lockheed-Martin, Jeff has led first-to-market product introductions across radar, optics and acoustic sensors; surveillance vehicles to drones; and ultra-wideband (UWB) to mobile ad hoc network (MANET) communications.

Jeff holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Electrical Engineering from George Mason University and is an avid follower of technology, always looking for the data in marketing and measuring its impacts.