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Congressman Joe Courtney to Host Lieutenant Commander Kimberly Young-McLear, Ph.D., Whistleblower and Workplace Bullying Survivor, as His State of the Union Guest

February 4, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) announced that he will host Lieutenant Commander Kimberly Young-McLear, Ph.D. of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy as his guest of honor for President Trump’s State of the Union Address on Tuesday, February 5th. LCDR Young-McLear, who identifies as black and lesbian, currently serves as a permanent military faculty member in the Electrical Engineering and Cyber Systems Section in the U.S. Coast Guard Academy’s Engineering Department. 

According to a Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General report on December 4, 2018, Young-McLear suffered retaliation after she made complaints about being the target of workplace bullying for years while teaching at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.  In addition, as a faculty member during the 35-day government shutdown in a Coast Guard facility, she diligently reported to work as an excepted employee despite missing a paycheck along with other faculty.

“It is unacceptable that talented and compassionate individuals like Kimberly are subjected to toxic and hostile work environments while serving their country,” Congressman Courtney said. “Moreover, our military service members and civilian employees must have the confidence that when they report workplace bullying and other forms of harassment or discrimination, they will not be subjected to retaliation. I thank Kimberly for her moral courage, integrity, and devotion to duty as a Coast Guardsman.”

During her career in the Coast Guard, Young-McLear has sought opportunities to leverage her STEM background to bring new innovations to the Coast Guard and the New London community. LCDR Young-McLear and her team were selected as the recipient of the 2017 Coast Guard Capt. Niels P. Thomsen Innovation Award for Cultural Change for their research in leveraging social media for large-scale disaster response during Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. As Chair of the Academy’s Cyber Council, she leads a multidisciplinary team of faculty to advance cyber curricula and research and helped develop the Academy’s cyber systems undergraduate major. Drawing upon her previous experience as Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security as well as her naval engineering and marine safety tours of duty, her post-doctoral research focuses on protecting critical infrastructure from cyber threats in the maritime domain. She also developed NET21, an innovative middle school outreach program in the New London area designed to systematically close STEM gaps amongst underrepresented students in the field of cybersecurity.