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About the Chair

Ashley J. Llorens

Chief, Intelligent Systems Center
Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

Mr. Ashley J. Llorens serves as the Chief of the Intelligent Systems Center at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL). As ISC Chief, Mr. Llorens leads research and development activities in machine learning, robotic and autonomous systems and applied neuroscience towards addressing the nation’s most critical challenges from defense to health. During his 15 years at APL, Mr. Llorens has led technical teams in applying machine learning to advance autonomous sensing capabilities for the U.S. Armed Services and has served as an advisor to Defense Science Board. In recognition of his technical contributions, Mr. Llorens has been awarded a Government Purpose Innovation Award by JHU/APL and has been honored as a Modern Day Technology Leader at the Black Engineer of the Year Awards.

In 2014, JHU President Ron Daniels appointed Mr. Llorens to serve as the chair of The Johns Hopkins Diversity Leadership Council (DLC), an advisory body that advances diversity and inclusion efforts throughout the university and health system. Mr. Llorens has been a champion for diversity and inclusion since joining the Johns Hopkins family. Under Mr. Llorens’ leadership, the DLC Diversity Innovation Grant (DIG) program was founded with the goal of providing seed funding for innovative, short-duration projects that foster diversity and inclusion throughout the myriad communities at Johns Hopkins. DIG has funded 42 projects led by faculty, staff and students ranging from the sponsorship of new inductees to the Indispensable Role of Blacks at Johns Hopkins exhibit to a conference on gay rights in U.S. foreign policy.

Mr. Llorens is a voting member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, the organization that facilitate the Grammy Awards, and has managed a career as a hip hop artist alongside his career at Johns Hopkins. Mr. Llorens is an internationally recognized artist, known as SoulStice, with a body of work that includes five studio albums and has toured in the U.S., Japan and Europe. His music has appeared in video games and on film and TV including The Blind Side starring Sandra Bullock and NCIS LA. Mr. Llorens leverages his dual careers to inspire youth, speaking and performing at elementary schools, high schools and colleges around the country.

Mr. Llorens was awarded a Master’s of Science in Electrical Engineering, with a concentration in Digital Signal Processing, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2003. Later that year, Mr. Llorens joined what is now the Force Projection Sector of the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL) full-time after interning for two summers as a National Consortium for Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Engineering and Science (GEM) fellow.


Did You Know?
  • In 1893 Florence Bascomb became the University's first female PhD.
  • Christine Ladd-Franklin was the first woman to earn a PhD at Hopkins, in mathematics in 1882. The trustees denied her the degree and refused to change the policy about admitting women; she finally received her degree 44 years later.
  • As of 2009-2010, the undergraduate population was 47% female and 53% male.
  • Hopkins researchers took the first color photograph of the whole earth from space in 1967.
  • Hopkins researchers confirmed the authenticity of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1948.
  • In 1948 Hopkins researchers discovered Dramamine's effectiveness in alleviating motion sickness.
  • Kelly Miller was the first African American to attend Johns Hopkins University. Admitted as a graduate student in mathematics in 1887.
  • In 1890, five Baltimore women, four of them daughters of Hopkins trustees, organized the Women's Fund Committee. Martha Carey Thomas, Mary Elizabeth Garrett, Mary Gwinn, Elizabeth King, and Julia Rogers raised money needed to establish the School of Medicine with the condition that the school accept women.
  • In 1999, Johns Hopkins University became one of the first major institutions to offer same-sex domestic partner benefits to employees.
  • The Diversity Leadership Council presented the first annual Diversity Leadership Awards in 2003.
  • The Diversity Leadership Council organized the first Diversity Conference in 2004.
  • There are 36 Nobel Prize winners associated with Johns Hopkins University.
  • More than 10,000 University alumni currently live in 162 countries.
  • Johns Hopkins international research and training sites, programs, and offices are in 134 countries.
  • In 1947, Ralph Young, M.D. became the first black medical doctor at Johns Hopkins. He was a syphilis expert and was appointed by A.M. Harvey, M.D., head of the Department of Medicine.
  • The Hopkins Center for Social concern provides a base for more than 50 student-run programs that serve Baltimore communities.  In 2009-2010, more than 1,500 students performed nearly 80,000 hours of volunteer work through these programs.
  • Vivien Thomas, a medical technician to Surgeon-in-Chief, Alfred Blalock, M.D., was one of the most famous blacks at Johns Hopkins. He trained surgical residents and is recognized for techniques he perfected in treating congenital heart defects.
  • Roland Smoot, M.D. became the first black physician with admitting privileges at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1965. He was the son of a post office employee and a domestic worker.
  • Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa, M.D. Dr. Q, is a neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins and author of "Becoming Dr. Q." When he was just 19, Dr. Q jumped the border fence between Mexico and the United States and labored as a farm worker until he could save enough to earn an education and become a U.S. Citizen.
  • Johns Hopkins enrolls undergraduates from all 50 states and more than 71 nations.
  • The seminar method of instruction was introduced in the United States by a Johns Hopkins University postdoctoral student.
  • The JH Sheridan Libraries and Museums have 4,395,668 volumes on its shelves.
  • In 1879 Hopkins researchers discovered the sweetening agent saccharin.
  • In 2004 Hopkins researchers sent a spacecraft to Mercury to orbit the planet and see, for the first time, the majority of Mercury's surface.
  • The Peabody Conservatory collaborated with the National University of Singapore to create the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory, Singapore's first and only conservatory of music.
  • Gertrude Stein studied at the School of Medicine from 1897-1902, though she did not receive a degree.
  • In 1991 Estelle Fishbein, former University General Counsel, became Johns Hopkins' first female vice president.
  • In 2011, the LGBT Community at Johns Hopkins joined the OUTList on National Coming Out Day.
  • The first three JHU bachelor's degrees were conferred in spring 1879.
  • There are more than 25 undergraduate multicultural student organizations at Johns Hopkins.
  • The Diversity Leadership Council has representation from all major Johns Hopkins University entities, Johns Hopkins Health System, and the Applied Physics Laboratory.
  • The Diversity Leadership Council has more than 40 members, who represent more than 30 departments and all campuses.
  • The Mosaic Initiative is the first University-wide Initiative to focus on the recruitment and retention of individuals that are under-represented in the JHU faculty including women and persons of color, across all divisions and units.
  • JHU age demographics are slowly changing: Our age demographics have shifted, with Baby Boomers (born 1943-1960) and Traditionalists (born before 1943) leaving our workforce while Gen X (born 1961-1981) and Gen Y (born after 1981) joining in greater numbers.

    Staff are the youngest, Deans/Executives are the oldest: In the second quarter of 2012, the average age of Deans/Executives is 55, Professorial Faculty is 50, Bargaining Unit is 49, Senior Staff is 46, Non-Professorial Faculty is 45, and Staff is 42.