DALLAS (NNS) -- Navy Medicine Support Command (NMSC) commander and director of the Navy's Medical Service Corps (MSC) took the top honor at the 15th annual Career Communications Group's WOC Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Women of Color (WOC) awards ceremony in Dallas Oct. 30.
Rear Adm. Eleanor Valentin was presented the 2010 WOC Technologist of the Year award by U.S. Navy Surgeon General Vice Adm. Adam Robinson.
"Before Rear Adm. Eleanor Valentin joined the Navy in 1982, this accomplished woman had already earned four degrees in zoology, psychology and public health," said Robinson. "Rear Admiral Valentin was the first woman to reach flag rank in the Medical Service Corps."
Robinson also described some of NMSC's responsibilities to the mostly civilian audience – research and development; public health; manpower, personnel, education and training; medical IT; and logistics, purchasing and contracting.
"While I'm honored and thankful, I am getting credit for the work of the people of Navy Medicine Support Command," Valentin said during a six-minute pre-recorded video presentation that included the four-minute command video overview. "The 4,300 professionals I am privileged to lead, work day and night to help ensure the health and readiness of our war fighters who serve in harm's way to defend our freedom."
Valentin was then presented the award and spoke to more than 1,200 people attending the gala.
"I would like to thank my husband of 35 years," she said. "Without his love and support I could not have worked with the focus and creativity that I needed to devote to the job. And I feel that I must share this award with the men and women who comprise the Navy Medicine Support Command."
Valentin then described how her parents migrated to the United States, met, married, and raised her family in Seattle.
"My parents raised my sister, my brother, and me to be Americans," she said. "They only spoke English to us so that we wouldn't have accents. We were told to respect your elders, traditions and family. They raised us so that we could have a better life than they did; so we could have the life they dreamed of having when they came to this country for the first time. My parents were not wealthy, but somehow, they sacrificed and created an environment for us, their children, to prosper."
Valentin concluded by describing the benefits of growing up in a diverse city.
"I grew up in an environment where it didn't matter what your ethnic group was, and it didn't matter what your gender was, and it didn't matter what your socio-economic background was, and it didn't matter what country you or your parents were from," she said. "I am an example of a world that will allow you to work without obstruction to achieve your personal and professional goals."
For more news from Navy Medicine, visit www.navy.mil/local/mednews/.