Engineering alumna, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency head to speak to incoming class
Regina Dugan, the newly appointed director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), will speak to incoming College of Engineering students at Virginia Tech, Thursday, Aug. 27, at 7 p.m. in Burruss Hall.
Dugan earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in engineering from Virginia Tech and a doctorate in mechanical engineering from the California Institute for Technology. She is the sole inventor on a patent for refueling satellites in orbit, and she has several additional provisional patents filed.
Dugan previously worked at DARPA from 1996 to 2000 before co-founding RedXDefense of Rockville, Md., in 2005. The company specializes in developing technologies to detect and counter explosives.
She was also the founder of Dugan Ventures. The company focuses mainly in early technology opportunities, particularly technologies that span multiple disciplines, according to its website.
“The Department of Engineering Education is overjoyed to have Dr. Dugan speak to the engineering freshmen as a part of the Student Engineers' Council First-Year Speaker Series. The purpose of this series is to expose the freshmen to cutting-edge engineering work so that they can see the contributions engineers make to society and begin to see themselves in that role. The work ongoing at DARPA represents some of the most advanced engineering in the world, and Dr. Dugan is the perfect person to inspire these aspiring engineers. We are very fortunate that she is willing to take time from her busy schedule to return to Blacksburg for this event,” said Hayden Griffin, head of the engineering education department.
The Electrical Engineering Times article on Dugan’s recent DARPA appointment, said that during her first tour at the agency, she directed a diverse $100 million portfolio of research and development programs. At that time, her primary program was aimed at developing new trace chemical sensors, and she led an interdisciplinary team of more than 100 academic, industrial, government, and military participants. Her program was successful in the creation of several revolutionary technologies and, most importantly, in their follow-on transition to multiple commercial and military products through private capitalization activities and follow-on acquisition programs.
Dugan has been widely recognized for her leadership in technology development. She has appeared on the Discovery Channel, National Public Radio, and the AAAS Science Report and her projects have been the subject of articles in The New York Times Science Times, The New York Times Circuits, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, Chemical and Engineering News, and Science News, among others. Dugan and her program were featured in an article entitled "Pentagon Agency Thrives on In-Your-Face Science", Science, 1999.
She has received numerous awards including the DARPA Program Manager of the Year Award; the deFleury Medal, the most prestigious Award of the Army Engineer Regiment, for her commitment and success in leading the effort to develop a land mine detection system; and the Office of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Service.
She is the co-author of Engineering Thermodynamics with J.B. Jones, a retired head of the mechanical engineering department at Virginia Tech.