Education Center Alumna Receives Prestigious Research Award

Laura Odell ’90 M.S., ’95 M.S., received Institute for Defense Analyses’ (IDA’s) 2019 Andrew J. Goodpaster Award for Excellence in Research.

“This award reflects Laura’s role as a pioneer in artificial intelligence-enabled decision-making,” says Norton A. Schwartz, IDA president and CEO. “Through her work, she has inspired IDA researchers, sponsors and others to continue their advancements in the information age.”

IDA is a nonprofit corporation that operates three federally funded research and development centers in the public interest. The award is named in honor of the former IDA president and trustee and is presented annually to an individual who has demonstrated exceptional analytic achievement within the IDA research community.

An assistant director in IDA’s Information Technology and Systems Division, Odell instinctively knows where to find the relevant data, what analytic tools to apply and how to help sponsors visualize the outcomes to inform and improve decision-making.

Her leadership has improved IDA’s ability to create solutions that are timely and actionable by its sponsors. In addition, she dedicates her efforts to developing projects that are of interest to her team, creating opportunities to expand their skills. Odell is exceedingly generous with her time, helping other project leaders in their career progression across IDA.

Through Florida Tech’s Quantico, Virginia, education center, Odell earned two master’s degrees, one in contract and acquisition management and another in management.

She is a member of the Acquisition Professional Community, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers and the ThanksUSA board, and she is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Seminar XXI.

“I am honored to receive such a prestigious award and be a part of an organization in a unique position to work the seams between industry, government and academia. Research is a team sport here, and IDA is truly committed to the sponsors we serve,” Odell says. “As a hands-on, operationally focused leader, I am privileged to provide decision-makers with feasible solutions that advance our national security posture.”

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