Surface Warfare Officers Honored at National Women of Color Technology Conference
By Naval Surface Forces Diversity Office
DALLAS – Surface Warfare Officers (SWO) were among 22 Navy representatives honored at the 13th Annual National Women of Color Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Conference in Dallas October 23 - 25 as part of a multi-cultural celebration and recognition event that prizes achievements of women in technology.

At the National Women of Color Awards gala and dinner, Senior Military Assistant to the Secretary of the Navy, Rear Adm. Michelle Howard, was honored as a 2008 Women of Color Career Achievement Winner, which recognized her career-long achievement in technology and her commitment to the Navy. The Deputy Commander of United States Transportation Command, Vice Adm. Ann Rondeau, acted as the awarding official for the Navy honorees.

Lt. Kathryn Wijnaldum, Navy Recruiting Region West, stated, “The highlight of the event for me was when all persons at the award gala stood up and applauded for Rear Adm. Michelle Howard. It made me very proud to wear the same uniform as she does.”

In addition to Howard’s award, there were three women honorees from the SWO community who were honored as 2008 National Women of Color Rising Stars: Wijnaldum, Lt. Allison Whatley and Lt. LaDonna Gordon.

Winjnaldum and Whatley attended the Women of Color STEM Conference and received their awards at the National Women of Color Technology “All Star and Rising Stars” Luncheon on October 24. Winjaldum and Whatley also attended the National Women of Color STEM Career Fair, where they spoke with students about the opportunities and careers in the Navy.

Whatley of the U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard said all attendees were given the chance to learn about time management, effective leadership and how women who are in the Navy, and in the science and technology field, are valued by the Navy and the military as a whole.

“It was intensely motivational for all who participated,” she said.
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