Founder and President - Rhonda Thomas
As the Founder of LEAP Forward, I have devoted 7 years to the organization and currently serve as President. I am a 1975 graduate of Calvert High School and matriculated at Tennessee Sate University where I received a B.S. in electrical engineering. I credit my career decision to my high school counselor, the late Mr. Wallace Lorenzo Leeper who took an active role and guided me to the engineering profession. He saw something in me and suggested I capitalize on my math and science background. My plans were to major in English and to concentrate on a Journalism career. Before entering the cooperative program, I didn't know a professional engineer nor did I fully understand all of the engineering disciplines but I began a journey that has resulted in a fruitful life.
As a participant in this affirmative action program, I was provided a two fold blessing that included the opportunity to go to college with financial assistance and the occasion to work along side professional engineers during the summer months.
I became the first African American woman to graduate from this program and successfully completed the education/training program. Believing that education is a very important key to life, I also obtained a M.S. degree in Systems Management from the University of Southern California and a M.S. degree in Systems Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. Over my 25 years of government service I have conducted research and development activities for antisubmarine warfare aircraft, electronic warfare systems, air to ground voice and data communications, flight information services, general aviation, weather and air traffic management programs.
My affiliations include Delta
Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., Blacks in Government, National Society of Black
Engineers, Society of Women Engineers, TSU Alumni Association, Program Manager
Professional and others.
My economically disadvantaged background as well as my education and engineering background certainly qualifies me to offer inspiration to youth. I
want my life to produce fruit as I give back a portion of the hope and
opportunity I have been afforded. Over the past years, I have proven my dedication to youth by supporting the organization with my own financial resources. Because
of the critical state of our youth, more resources are needed to really make a
difference. You too can make a difference. LEAP Forward, Inc. needs your help and support. Together we all can make a difference.
Founding Board members
· Conrad White (Electrical Engineer – Navy)
· Wilhemina Greene (Electrical Engineer – Navy)
· Wilson Ennis (Electrical Engineer – Navy)
· Maurice Irvine (Mechanical Engineer – Business Owner)
· Timothy Morsell (Industrial Technology – DC Government)
· Burdette Wills (Industrial Engineer –Business Owner)
Honorary Board Member - Mrs. Peggy Leeper