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Dr. Julian Earls - Former Director of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field in Cleveland, Ohio


Dr. Bilal Bomani - Vice President of National Technical Association’s Cleveland Chapter


Believe in Ohio is introducing an Urban STEM Mentoring Network to focus efforts on students in Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Columbus.

In addition to professionals and academics in STEM, we are in need of business professionals and entrepreneurs, particularly those active in Ohio’s Innovation Economy and regional entrepreneurship ecosystems, who can coach (or mentor) the students through the commercialization and business plan development process.

Please note - all Mentors will be required to undergo a background check (at no cost) prior to interacting with students.

Mr . Johnathan M. Holifield – Believe in Ohio Inclusive Competitiveness, State Director


Mr. Holifield is the architect of and nationally recognized leader on Inclusive Competitiveness and served as subject matter expert for the Ohio Board of Regents Subcommittee on Inclusive Competitiveness. Recognizing that growing our country’s prosperity requires an “All Hands on Deck” approach to innovation and economic competitiveness by all Americans, including women, African Americans, Latinos and rural populations.

Ms. Mary McWilliams – Believe in Ohio Inclusive Competitiveness Coordinator, Columbus Metro


Mary McWilliams is a practicing MBA‐infused engineering professional who works for the Defense Logistics Agency of the Department of Defense in Columbus Ohio where she is Electronics Engineer Team Leader for Fiber Optics and Wire and Cable. Ms. McWilliams (Mary) is also the 2014‐15 Chair‐Elect for the Professional Executive Board of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) of which she has been a member since 1982.

Mr. Wayne Hicks – Believe in Ohio Inclusive Competitiveness Coordinator, Cincinnati Metro


Mr. R. Wayne Hicks is currently the executive director of the BDPA Education and Technology Foundation (BETF), the non‐profit fundraising arm for BDPA, the national IT association that is dedicated to advancing the careers of African Americans in the IT industry, from the classroom to the boardroom. Mr. Hicks has been an active leader in BDPA since he joined in 1988 and has served in virtually every leadership position on both the local and national level, including as national president and president of the BDPA Cincinnati Chapter.

Dr. Bilal Bomani – Believe in Ohio Inclusive Competitiveness Coordinator, Cleveland Metro


Dr. Bomani is a senior research scientist whose work has been featured in a TED talk. Dr. Bomani is a leader in the National Technical Association (NTA) which is an organization dedicated to encouraging, motivating and inspiring underrepresented men and women to choose careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, Medicine and Education. Dr. Bomani currently serves as the Vice President of NTA’s Cleveland Chapter and was the National Conference Program Chairman of NTA’s 86th Annual Conference in 2014 that was held in Cleveland.

Mentors, use the links below to learn more about the Believe in Ohio program and your role in helping to shape the next generation of innovators in Ohio.