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wise-logo-final-regular (2)Women in Systems Engineering (WISE)

Women in Systems Engineering (WISE) is an initiative established by the INCOSE Chesapeake Chapter, under the authority of its Board of Directors, to increase representation of women in systems engineering within industry, academia, and government.

WISE is dedicated to promoting greater diversity in the systems engineering field, especially as the engineering lifecycle evolves to meet more advanced technological needs. The purpose of WISE is not only to increase the visibility and voice of women in the systems engineering career field, but also to cultivate the next generation of women systems engineers by providing networking opportunities, sharing best practices and lessons learned, mentoring, and offering Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) community outreach.

WISE Major Events:

  • WISE and Wine Networking Event
  • Intern Mentoring Program
  • Youth STEM Project

For the last two years, the Chesapeake Chapter Women in Systems Engineering (WISE) hosted the WISE and Wine Networking event.

The 3rd Annual WISE and Wine Networking Event was held on May 19th  at JHU/APL. This Event was open to Members and Non-Members at no cost thanks to the generosity of our Sponsors InfoTek, Wood Consulting Services, and Johns Hopkins University/Applied Physics Laboratory.

If you missed it – We hope you join us for our next event – Stay tuned


Planning is underway for the 3rd Annual Intern Mentoring Event.  If your company has interns and you would like to include them in this Event, please contact us at

Congratulations to the 2016 WISE Leaders

WISE leaders were acknowledged and received awards at the 2016 INCOSE Chesapeake Chapter Holiday Party held at the Engineers Club on 7 December 2016. Myra Parsons Gross, President, presented awards to Heather Johnson, Linda Pittelli (not in attendance), Adura Adekunjo, and Michelle Douglass-Butler for their dedication and commitment to the goals of WISE.

INCOSE Chesapeake Chapter WISE 2017 Leaders:

  • Cheri Jackson, WISE Chair/Associate Director
  • Myra Parsons Gross, ESEP, Past President
  • Adura Adekunjo, Associate Director
  • Michelle Douglass-Butler, CSEP, Associate Director


WISE Chair:  Cheri Jackson Cheri Jackson Pic

Background: Cheri Jackson has over 8 years of demonstrated career progression in the Military Intelligence, SIGINT and Systems Engineering communities. A Navy veteran; hardworking, adaptable and articulate, Cheri has a proven track record of professional success within the Department of Defense that speaks highly to her level of business acumen, strong interpersonal and analytical skills. Cheri’s professional experience as a systems engineer is what inspired her to become a member of INCOSE, and ultimately to volunteer and support WISE. Having been a member of various organizations, to include the science club in high school, joining WISE was an easy decision, given it’s outlook and support of STEM. Cheri is currently in the process of completing her B.S. in Psychology, in addition to earning her CSEP through INCOSE.

Statement:  Do not be afraid to challenge the status quo and make innovative and objective recommendations as to which direction should be taken to manage mission expectations and drive the decision making process.


Past President:  Myra Parsons Gross, ESEP, PMP    Myra Parsons Gross Pic

Background:  Myra Parsons Gross has over 30 years of system engineering and program management experience in the DoD industry with more recent experience in the IC.  She has a BS degree in Electrical Engineering from California State University at Long Beach.  She is PMI certified with a PMP and is an ESEP through INCOSE.   Myra has extensive experience leading highly skilled technical teams of systems, software, hardware and test engineers, through all phases of development, end-to-end testing, operations, and production.  She is also skilled at leading diverse cross-organizational teams, collaborative efforts between organizations and consolidation of joint team efforts to ensure program success including DoD compliance, technical performance, and meeting cost and schedule targets.    Her technical skills include enterprise system architecture, DoDAF, requirements management, interface requirements dataflows, CONOPS, software design, and integration and test (IV&V).  Myra has solid experience with standard industry engineering practices and engineering process, DoD Standards, and IC policies.  She possess the technical breadth with the development and deployment of Tier-1 DoD complex systems, architecture of System of Systems (SoS), Net-Centric architecture and system design, and Intelligence, Surveillance and Recognizance (ISR) technology. Myra is also serving on the INCOSE Chesapeake Chapter Board of Directors.

Myra has been recognized by Industry Leaders for her exceptional experience having received the 2011 National Women of Color (WoC) Professional Achievement Award and where she was also a finalist for the Technologist of Year Award.  Since 2012, Myra has actively served as a panelist, speaker and/or moderator for number technical leadership seminars at the Industry Recognized Annual Black Engineer of the Year Awards (BEYA) annual conference.

Statement:  I have been an active member of WISE since its inception in May 2014.  When WISE was proposed as an initiative by INCOSE Chesapeake Chapter, I immediately saw an opportunity to increase the awareness of systems engineering and a way to support the continued advancement of systems engineering for our increasingly complex and rapidly changing future.  Now more than ever, there is  a need to ensure that organizations understand the importance of having a disciplined systems approach to developing large complex systems to minimize cost, risk of rework and schedule delay.  However, my immediate interest is to create opportunities for young women to become interested in systems engineering and to support women who may already be considering systems engineering and those who have chosen Systems Engineering as a career choice.


Associate Director:  Adura Adekunjo    Adura Adekunjo Pic

Background: Adura Adekunjo has 10 years of experience as a University Lecturer lecturing Electrical Engineering and Physics undergraduate students prior to her migrating to the United States, and over 16 years of experience as a software developer since migrating to the United States.  Adura has a BS and an MS in Electrical/Electronics Engineering from University of Ife, Ile-Ife Nigeria, and an MS in Systems Engineering from Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD. She also has a Master Certificate, Enterprise Solution Developer, from Johns Hopkins University Computer Career Institute and a Scrum Master Certification.

She was a research fellow at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands as an awardee of the European Union fellowship, worked as a part time adjunct faculty in the Department of Electrical Engineering at the Capitol College Maryland.  Adura has two research publications in the International Journal of Electronics as well as the SCS Autumn Simulation Conference Proceedings.

She is proficient in Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) using both Agile and waterfall methodologies, Requirement Analysis, System Design Documentation.

Adura has programming experience in a wide range of programming and scripting languages as well as excellent troubleshooting skills.

Statement:  Adura is a good team player with excellent interpersonal skills.  She is precise in documentation skills and is a self-starter which makes her ideal for the position of secretary.  Adura, as an instructor, gets fulfillment in helping individuals develop their academic potentials and achieve their set goals, she believes serving in WISE leadership would provide her  another great opportunity to do what she enjoys doing —  mentoring and encouraging younger women to get interested in the science and engineering fields.


Associate Director:  Michelle Douglass-Butler, CSEPPOAC-ProfPic_Douglass-Butler

Background:  Michelle Douglass-Butler has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering, a Graduate Certificate in Systems Engineering, and an M.S. in Technical Management.  She has approximately 15 years of experience as a Systems Engineer working for large, medium, and small companies in the defense industry.

Statement:  I have no prior experience with organizing and leading STEM/Outreach activities.  However, the experience that I do have to offer is what I use at home with my two young children, ages 6 (daughter) and 9 (son).  We do all sorts of science experiments at home and other math, engineering, and technology-related activities that help to develop their analytic minds.  My husband (also an engineer) and I are very dedicated parents set on guiding them towards STEM-related fields.  I often find organized STEM activities for my son where my daughter is too young to attend and that is unfortunate because she feeds off the fact that my son is enjoying the activity.  She also picks up things very quickly just by being in the vicinity of him while he’s learning.  So, in a way, my children are truly my motivation for volunteering to be the WISE Outreach Chair.  It’s a way for me to strive—though on a very small level—to bridge that gap in activity availability for younger children and teach them to engage with other kids to develop their “STEM voice” early on.   It would also provide an opportunity for the older children to engage in a variety of STEM activities while building upon their leadership skills.  My goal initially would be to begin small and offer STEM activities geared towards the young children of my fellow WISE members (and encourage them to bring a friend along) with hopes to grow the WISE Outreach activities from there.

Past President:  Kim Bowmaster (2014-2015)

WISE Welcomes Volunteers to support upcoming activities and events. Anyone interested in obtaining more information about how to volunteer or be a sponsor, please contact us: