Navy in Full Force at SWE Conference

Story Number: NNS111028-22Release Date: 10/28/2011 3:32:00 PM
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By Lt. Jeffrey S. Gray, Navy City Outreach, Chicago Public Affairs

CHICAGO (NNS) -- Numerous Navy representatives attended and participated in a host of activities at this year's Society of Women Engineers 2011 annual conference in Chicago Oct. 13-15.

Representatives from Navy Recruiting Command, Naval Sea Systems Command and Naval Facilities Engineering Command participated in speaker events, a career fair, and professional development presentations.

With the theme of "Raising the Heights of Innovation," the conference allowed more than 5,000 women scientists, technologists, and engineers from across the country to network with Navy professionals, both uniformed and civilian.

"Being here today offered me an opportunity to reflect on my entire career and how college and the Navy prepared me for the challenges in my civilian career," said Rear Adm. Paula Campbell Brown, deputy commander of First Naval Construction Division. "It's great to be a part of something larger than oneself and how it was that the Navy helped me finish school and become the person I am today, both personally and professionally."

Brown was the keynote speaker for the conference's Collegiate Luncheon. During her presentation, she discussed the role of choices in her life, including setting priorities and having a balanced life.

According to Brown, joining the Navy allowed her to learn to lead, manage, and be organized.

"The Navy allowed me to make choices, even though it's a fairly structured environment," said Brown. "You must be able to use the training you received as an engineer to dissect a problem and put it back together. You also have to be able to speak the technical language or jargon of engineering.

"I believe the Navy has changed so much. With all of the opportunities we offer to women, now is the time we need to engage and connect with organizations like SWE."

For Betty Shanahan, SWE's executive director and chief executive officer, "Having the Navy here as both a partner and sponsor is important for a few reasons. One, the Navy represents a diversity of professions and opportunities. Second, the professional opportunities available in the Navy aren't restricted to the uniformed professionals; there are also opportunities available in the civilian workforce. Third, and most importantly, the Navy is a visible leader in diversity."

At the end of her speech, Brown, along with Cmdr. Roy Harrison, director of diversity for Navy Recruiting Command, presented presentation checks to Clare Oveson and Kelly Lennard. Oveson is a civil engineering major at Gonzaga University and has been in the Navy's Delayed Entry Program since her sophomore year. Oveson will be joining the Navy's Civil Engineer Corps when she graduates in January 2012. Lennard is a physics major at the University of Montana, and is looking to become a nuclear propulsion officer upon graduation.

Founded in 1950, SWE is a not-for-profit educational and service organization that empowers women to succeed and advance in the field of engineering, and to be recognized for their contributions as engineers and leaders.

For more information on SWE, visit

To learn more about women in the Navy, visit

For more news from Chief of Naval Personnel - Diversity Directorate, visit

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