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By NSWCDD Corporate Communications
The National Safety Council has selected Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division’s (NSWCDD) Pacifique Munezero for the Rising Stars of Safety Award.
The awards ceremony took place Sept. 19.
Since 2010, the National Safety Council (NSC) has been honoring the next generation of safety professionals through the Rising Stars of Safety Award.
The Rising Stars of Safety provide leadership in their organization and are dedicated to continuous improvement in safety.
While NSC nominations are unlimited, every organization can have only one winner each year.
Munezero was selected as the 2022 award winner from all nominations submitted by organizations within the Department of the Navy.
Munezero, a System Safety Engineer and Model-Based System Engineering (MBSE) Safety Lead in the Electromagnetic and Sensor Systems Department, was recognized for having a positive influence in her previous company’s safety culture and for safety leadership.
Munezero was nominated for her past work in the Readiness and Training Systems Department. She served as Acting Principal for Safety for the USS Constellation (FFG-62) class guided-missile frigate combat system and as a safety project manager of the Littoral Combat Ship Freedom Variant Combat System.
Munezero directed the system safety programs with these Navy efforts by identifying hazards and mitigating risk to protect personnel from injury and death. She also protected systems from equipment damage and loss and damage to the environment. She delivered high-quality system safety analyses and products on schedule and within budget.
As a member of the NSWCDD Large Unmanned Surface Vessel Integrated Combat System Engineering Team, Munezero developed architecture products using MBSE language. She then took her expertise to her safety organization and provided virtual training to other system safety engineers.
Munezero spearheaded an initiative to embed system safety processes into digital systems engineering. This culture change was significant because the field is historically bogged down by complex analyses and long paper trails, according to her nomination.
Munezero said her passion for MBSE is not rooted in exploring the latest technology, but in a true belief in the mission to reduce time to search for information.
“I believe in the reduction of duplication of work,” Munezero said. “I believe in the rapid availability and integration of data to allow cross-functional teams of scientists and engineers to allocate more time in scientific and engineering analysis to support stakeholders’ informed decisions.”
Munezero said receiving the award “warms my heart and humbles my journey in the federal civil service.”
According to her nomination, Munezero emerged as a recognized leader across NSWCDD, Dam Neck Activity and the Systems Safety Engineering Division, the latter of which is one of the largest U.S. government system safety engineering organizations with approximately 150 safety engineers, scientists and technicians.
Munezero is currently leading development of an MBSE-agnostic algorithm solution to embed safety requirements and hazard mitigations into a digital engineering model.
This project will allow system safety engineers to better support system development, testing and deployment of critical warfighter technologies at unprecedented speed while improving warfighter safety.
Munezero is a member of several internal and external forums and collaborative groups, including the MBSE Community of Practice with representatives across all NSWCDD technical departments. She is also a member of the System Safety Engineering Division, Software System Safety Community of Practice, which provides the NSWCDD workforce with technical guidance and standardized processes related to software safety engineering.
This past summer she mentored two interns – one in high school under the Science and Engineering Apprenticeship Program and another in college under the Naval Research Enterprise Internship Program.
“I’ve continued to take every opportunity to grow as a safety engineer and mentor, to develop new skills and find opportunities to share technical skills and my passion of serving the warfighter,” Munezero said. “I recently graduated my first New Employee Developmental Assignment intern to whom I taught MBSE principles and passed the baton, asking her to share knowledge with her home branch.”
Munezero is currently supporting the Navy Forge Software Factory as the MBSE Safety Lead at NSWCDD. She conducted research that was executed with two innovation grants received through the Dahlgren Chief Technology Office.
“This research investigated generic safety requirements in an MBSE environment,” Munezero said.
In August, Munezero presented a technical paper, co-authored with three other writers, at the International System Safety Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio followed by a presentation at the annual NSWCDD Modeling and Simulation Summit in August.
Munezero recently earned a master’s degree in engineering management from Old Dominion University (ODU). She is now pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in engineering management and systems engineering at ODU and has plans to explore the intersection of digital engineering and system safety engineering.
Munezero has several diverse interests outside of her employment including swimming, dancing and sewing.
She said her drive to succeed stems from her upbringing and active engagement with mentors at NSWCDD.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today without my father who taught me to do the right thing at a very young age and who would have been proud of my accomplishments; my mother who was widowed at a young age and raised my three siblings and I in a foreign land as refugees, and who continues to be a positive role model for authenticity and dedication,” Munezero said. “My mentors at NSWCDD provide me with technical guidance, and have never ceased to hold my hand until I was ready to move from a crawling phase, to a walking phase, to a running phase.”