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Celebrating Black History Month at Battelle

At Battelle, we know the value of bringing together people from diverse cultures and areas of expertise to innovate and achieve in a workplace where they can be their authentic selves. For Black History Month, we’ve highlighted four staff members. They are emblematic of our value of excellence, including innovative research into environmentally friendly energy and life changing health outcomes, improving our internal processes and investing in the development of new leaders.

Marlon McKoy

Headshot of Battelle Carbon Services Project Manager Marlon McKoy

My name is Marlon McKoy and I’m a Project Manager with Battelle Carbon Services.  

To me Black History Month is not only a time to celebrate, but also a time to reflect on my family history, envision the history I will leave behind for my children, and hope. I celebrate those who have paved the way for us as a people and the many who are still fighting.

I reflect on those such as my parents who migrated from Guyana, South America, to provide their children with opportunities not given to them and the guidance counselor who saw more in me than I saw in myself. I envision a history my children will be proud to speak of, one of a man who honored his ancestors, adored his wife, gave back to his community, and most importantly, taught them unconditional love and the values necessary to navigate this world.

During Black History Month I hope that for 12 months out of the year, I am not only honoring, but creating history.

Adhanet Kifle

Headshot of Battelle technical lead for hr/payroll applications Adhanet Kifle

Salam, my name is Adhanet Kifle and I’m a Technical Lead for Battelle’s HR/Payroll Applications.

For me, the celebration of Black History Month is about acknowledging the history, challenges, and countless contributions of Black people in the United States. Black History Month is also a reminder that there is still so much work to be done in our communities and should serve as a time to be intentional and active in doing our part to improve our communities.

My high school computer science teacher, Jim Martiny, inspired my career path. At a time when Black girls like me didn’t see themselves represented in STEM, he recognized me a young person with a potential to perform well in the field.

Since Mr. Martiny worked at Battelle, he would schedule “field trips” to Battelle to expose us to different career paths in the IT industry. Those memories have always stuck with me and taught me an important lesson about service. Mr. Martiny, in a collaborative effort with Battelle, used science and technology in service of society and in return, I try to do the same. I volunteer with non-profits whose missions are to engage, inspire, and transform communities through science and technology. It is my hope that people of all backgrounds, especially Black girls like me, see themselves fully represented in STEM.

Anthony Paul Mitchell

Headshot of Battelle Business Line Director for Chemical Demilitarization Anthony-Paul-Mitchell

I am Anthony Paul Mitchell (he/him/his) and I serve as Battelle's Business Line Director for Chemical Demilitarization.  Three words I would use to describe myself are loyal, selfless, and determined.

Two well-known figures in Black history shaped my interest in science and my early aspiration to become a physician. One was Dr. Charles Drew, known for his pioneering works with blood transfusions and blood banks, and the other was Dr. Ben Carson, a prominent neurosurgeon. As it relates to what would become my career path, however, I can't say there is a single defining moment in black history in STEM that affected it. For me, the moments are continuous, as life experiences in general as a Black/Afro/African American have provided the continued motivation and inspiration to learn, grow, appreciate, give, and live each day selflessly and to the fullest.

Black History Month is a designated period where the nation collectively pauses to celebrate and honor the history of a people whose contributions have helped shape American society. It is the celebration of Black/Afro/African Americans whose history is often not widely accepted. Nonetheless, this month means an appreciation for the foresight of Dr. Carter G. Woodson (known as the Father of Black History) regarding the importance of bringing awareness to and highlighting the achievements of some of America's greatest citizens. After all, Black History is American history, and we can't negate the power behind learning as much as we can of it.

That word, service—Battelle's mission to use science in the service of society resonated most with me. For the duration of my nearly 29‐year military career, it was about "service to the Nation" or "public service," the doing for others at the expense of oneself. It was my exemplifying a vital component of the Army values, selfless service. To be of service reflects my values and sacrificial commitment to being a productive member of society through caring leadership at home and in the community.

Ruth Gatiba

Headshot of Ruth Gabita, Program Manager for Health Research Division, Battelle

I am Ruth Gabita (she/her/hers). I’m a Program Manager in Battelle’s Health Research division. Three words I use to describe myself are: thoughtful, deductive, and driven.

As a first-generation African immigrant in STEM, my parents are proud of me for achieving the dream they could not.

I’m passionate about bringing visibility to these concepts: privilege, diversity, equity, and inclusion. Battelle’s mission of doing the greatest good for humanity aligns with this passion. I appreciate the continued effort by leadership and ERG groups toward modeling inclusive behavior. It’s important that we learn to embrace and value our differences.

From my perspective, celebrating Black history means acknowledging the African roots of African American culture and the impact the African American culture on the whole African diaspora. I’m an avid advocate of culture relativism which is the practice of assessing a culture by its own standards rather than viewing it through the lens of one’s own culture. Practicing cultural relativism requires an open mind and a willingness to consider, and even adapt to, new values and norms. The African diaspora is not monolithic, and we should celebrate the beauty of our many cultures not just during Black History Month, but every day. 

Posted
February 23, 2023
Author
Battelle Insider
Estimated Read Time
4 Mins
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