BEYA Recognizes Army Engineer for Professional Achievements at Annual STEM Conference

An Army engineer officer will receive an award for professional achievement at the Black Engineers of the Year Award Ceremony during the 2024 BEYA STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Conference being held Feb. 15 through 17 at National Harbor, Maryland.

“This recognition is a profound honor for me,” said Lt. Col. Michael Pope. “I hope to serve as an example to engineers that follow my footsteps.”

The award recognizes a STEM professional who has made significant discoveries, made important advances in his or her chosen STEM career path, and is acknowledged as a leader of large STEM initiatives.

Pope currently serves as the deputy district commander at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Far East district. He also serves as the Design and Construction Agent (DCA) for the Yongsan Relocation Program (YRP) and Land Partnership Plan (LPP). The $10.4 billion program relocates the US military from Yongsan Garrison in Seoul to south of the Han River at Camp Humphreys.

Over the course of the program, over 600 facilities have been built in partnership between the US and RoK governments. During Pope’s tenure in the position, he has seen the final project in the Pyeongtaek area for the program come to completion – a chapel on Osan Air Base.

Lt. Col. Michael Pope, deputy commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Far East District, will receive an award for professional achievement at the Black Engineers of the Year Award Ceremony during the 2024 BEYA STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Conference being held Feb. 15 through 17 at National Harbor, Maryland. U.S. ARMY PHOTO

“Seeing this project come to fruition was a milestone that I could not have met without my RoK counterpart and the numerous individuals who have worked on the program throughout the years,” he said. “Now, I get to lead the team in its next steps as we transition our focus.”

Pope’s ties to the military began in high school when he participated in junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) with the US Navy. After graduating from school six months early, he was unsure of his next steps.

“I worked in a grocery store as a meat cutter,” he said. “My junior ROTC leader helped my fill out a ROTC scholarship for South Carolina State University where I majored in mechanical engineering. That set me on a path of military service.”

Pope commissioned in the Field Artillery Branch and has spent the past 22 years in the Army. His career took him across the U.S., to Hondorus and South Korea, and other locations around the world.

“I have seen a lot of change and lived in many new places during my career,” Pope said. “This award would not be possible without the many experiences I had to get to my current position.”

When asked advice he would give to STEM professionals just beginning their careers, he advised finding a field that gives a sense of meaning.

“Find a career that brings you purpose,” he said. “Pursue a passion that helps others and makes you feel part of a bigger initiative.”

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Far East District serves as the design and construction agent for the Department of Defense in South Korea. Across the peninsula, the team of civilians, Soldiers and Korean Nationals manages over 300 projects valued at over $6.6 billion.

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