STEM Professional of the week

Tamara L. Kappel      
U.S. Army

Ms. Tamara L. Kappel began career in civil service at the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Office, Tobyhanna Army Depot (TYAD) in 2006. As an EEO specialist, she is responsible for providing guidance to approximately 4,000 civilian employees, former employees and applicants. She advises staff members through the discrimination complaint process, assists in EEO investigations, and provides employee trainings. Tamara is also a vital contributor to Tobyhanna’s efforts to recruit a diverse workforce.

Ms. Kappel is one of three siblings in a tight nit Hispanic and Italian family. She joined the United States Army National Guard in Pennsylvania to challenge herself, and in doing so became the first person in her family to join the Armed Services. During her eight years of service, Tamara faced several challenges, all of which have prepared her to face any obstacle and adversity that comes into her life.

In her first post at Tobyhanna Army Depot, Ms. Kappel was an interpreter for deaf and hard of hearing employees. She immediately made an impression on her superiors with the great care she exhibited with everyone she worked with, ensuring that her hearing impaired employees had everything they needed to perform at the level of their non-impaired colleagues. Soon she was selected for cross training to facilitate a transition to her current position as EEO Specialist within one year.

Tamara is also responsible for TYAD’s Shadow Program. This outreach program is geared for high school students at the Monroe Career and Technical Institute. TYAD is the county’s largest employer, and the Shadow Program is a great way to raise its visibility among the many minority high school students in Monroe County, the most diverse county in the region. Tamara has made valuable connections for the students in automotive technology, carpentry, electronics, electrical welding, machine-tool technology and computer network security. Her efforts with the program over the past five years have resulted in over 80 students participating in the program with over 86% going on to post-secondary training or directly to work.

In addition to her work with the Shadow Program, Tamara coordinates visits to local high schools in Monroe County for TYAD representatives. These electronics and engineering employees illuminate the pathways to careers in STEM and share with the students how the information they learn in school will be applied when they enter the workforce.

Ms. Kappel has a gift for shattering communication barriers, and she creates regular bulletins breaking down technical and social in ways that individuals can understand. Having authored 29 bulletins on various topics like race and ethnically -based discrimination in the workplace, this on-going initiative has become a new cornerstone at TYAD for building a more knowledgeable and productive workforce.

An avid animal lover, Ms. Kappel rescues, rehabilitates and finds permanent homes for abused dogs. She and her husband, Michael, and their two children live in Pennsylvania. She has a bachelor of science degree in psychology from Drexel University and a master of arts degree in counseling from Seton Hall University. She was honored with the HENAAC Santiago Rodriguez Diversity Award in 2012.

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