Naval Academy Honored at Women of Color Conference

Story Number: NNS081031-15Release Date: 10/31/2008 11:13:00 AM
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By Chief Mass Communication Specialist (SW) Misty Trent, U.S. Naval Academy Public Affairs

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (NNS) -- Naval Academy personnel were among 22 Navy representatives honored at the 13th annual Women of Color Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Conference in Dallas Oct. 23-25.

The conference and awards ceremony recognized achievement in the fields of science and technology.

The Naval Academy awardees, Lt. Anne Gibbon, Professor Maria Schroeder and Miriam Stanicic, were recognized at the 2008 Women of Color Awards, celebrating achievement in the fields of science and technology. Other Navy awardees included Senior Military Assistant to the Secretary of the Navy Rear Adm. Michelle Howard; Chief of Naval Operations' (CNO) Special Assistant for Diversity Capt. Yolanda Reagans; and Capt. Cynthia Macri, M.D., Vice President for Recruitment and Diversity at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.

"This event was filled with driven, positive, educated, goal-oriented, and very accomplished women from all different walks of life," said Midshipman 1st Class Meagan LaBossiere, who was among the group of eight Naval Academy delegates who attended the conference. "Seeing so many successful women of all shades and colors come together in such a manner truly inspired me."

Deputy Commander, United States Transportation Command Vice Adm. Ann Rondeau served as the awarding official for the Navy honorees. Approximately 4,000 guests attended the conference and awards ceremony, which was sponsored by Career Communications Group (CCG), a minority-owned talent management company that provides diversity and leadership solutions to individuals and organizations with a focus on promoting minority achievement in STEM fields.

"The National Women of Color Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Conference awards are designed to recognize the accomplishments of women of color in STEM fields, whose contributions often go unrecognized," explained Miller J. Roberts III, Corporate Communications Manager for CCG. "Award honorees were chosen for leadership, innovation and outstanding work in STEM fields."

The CNO's Diversity Policy states, "Diversity has made our nation and Navy stronger. To derive the most from that diversity, every individual, military or civilian, must be encouraged and enabled to reach his or her full potential. They must be inspired and empowered to attain the most senior levels of leadership. That empowerment today is unleashed by involved, thoughtful, proactive and enlightened leaders."

To that end, in July CNO Adm. Gary Roughead said, "Clearly for the Navy and the type of warfare that I think we're going to be in the future, the need for the nation to take seriously a foundation in science, technology, engineering, and those matters, I think is very important."

"As the next generations face the choice to continue service or to find another corporation at which to use their talents, the challenge faced by the Navy to retain those standouts is critical," said Gibbon. "The missions facing our sea service are varied and all are extremely challenging. Our success in meeting each of the missions is based upon the sustained performance of great teams, and each of those great Navy teams must be led by the best leaders."

The Women of Color STEM Conference offered women in both industry and academia the opportunity for lectures and roundtable discussions about the opportunities and challenges of working in the hard sciences. At the conference, Navy attendees joined guests from industry, academia and community organizations and took advantage of the opportunity to network and learn.

"A reoccurring theme that I kept hearing all weekend was 'inclusion engagement,' better known to the United States Naval Academy as 'diversity outreach,'" said LaBossiere, who serves as the president of the Naval Academy chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers. "These top corporations have whole-heartedly bought into both the advantages and benefits of diversity, which lead to profit maximization and efficiency within their respective corporations. Similarly, the U.S. Navy has also recognized the need to move in the same direction with respect to diversity in the military."

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