ORLANDO, Fla. – Three employees of the Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division (NAWCTSD) were selected to receive recognition at the Women of Color STEM Conference Oct. 11-13 in Detroit.
Jamaya Dunn, Matia M. Green, and Alana Nunez-Bennett were each chosen for Women of Color Technology Rising Star Awards which will be formally presented during the conference.
“I feel very humbled receiving this award,” said Green, an instructional systems specialist who has been with NAWCTSD for five years. “You work hard, not for the accolades, but for the reward of knowing you’re contributing to a cause greater than you. When you do receive accolades, it’s just icing on top of an already worthy cause.”
Dunn, a Logistics Management Specialist who has been at NAWCTSD for the past six of her 10 years in civil service said, “though this recognition as not expected, it is greatly and deeply appreciated. The Women of Color Award is such a prestigious way of being recognized. There are so many phenomenal women who have come before me, and many who will come after, I hope to make them proud.”
Nunez-Bennett, a NAWCTSD contracting officer said, “I feel humbled to receive such a prestigious award. I am honored to represent not only NAWCTSD Orlando but the Department of the Navy as an upcoming leader.”
The three awardees attributed hard work, dedication to the command’s mission and the support of their coworkers as factors leading to their being selected for the award.
“I believe that I was recognized for my contributions to NAWCTSD in ensuring this command reaches the mission and vision set for itself,” Green said. “I believe diligent technical work in supporting my programs and volunteering for command initiatives assisted in being recognized for this honor.”
Dunn added “I believe that I was nominated for my technical expertise as a logistician and my contributions to supporting command initiatives in my roles as Diversity Council Chair and APAT Co-Lead. I take pride in delivering quality products to the fleet and I work diligently to provide stellar logistical support to my programs, for the benefit of the warfighter.”
“I believe my fellow cohorts see my dedication to this organization,” Nunez-Bennett said. “Although I have never served (in the military), I work tirelessly every day to ensure I can help another warfighter obtain superior training so they are too able to come back home to their families.”
With mentorship being an important part of the NAWCTSD culture, the women each offered tips for new employees looking to succeed. “Always work hard and continually think about how you can benefit this command not only through your technical expertise, but in those areas that help to drive the command’s mission and vision further,” Green said. “Don’t allow yourself to become comfortable in just one thing, diversify yourself and your body of work and contributions.”
“We were all new at some point,” Dunn added. “You’re not expected to know all of the answers, but you are expected to research and ask questions to get the answers that you don’t know. Take charge of your career. As my mentor tells me, you are your biggest advocate. It’s your responsibility to develop your career roadmap and work diligently to build a reputation that speaks to your ability to do the work, as every day is a job interview.
Nunez-Bennett, who has more than nine years’ experience at NAWCTSD, added that people should be willing to take calculated risks to move ahead in their careers. “I highly encourage new employees to get comfortable with ‘failing forward’ as one can always strive to improve, however, if you’re hesitant to try you’re guaranteed to never move forward,” she said. “Be willing to research questions in advance of asking for guidance or direction as the results of your conversation will be far more value added for both parties. Never stop learning, the beauty of our industry is we are able to leverage off of lessons learned and innovate new ways to better support the Navy’s mission.”
The three women understand the importance of their contributions to the mission. Dunn said, “I value the work we do here and I look forward to continuing to support the warfighter through supporting NAVAIRs mission, while mentoring and developing future leaders along the way.”
Green said she was drawn by “the opportunity to assist in creating training products for the people who defend our rights and freedoms. I have family members who serve this country and it means a lot to me to think that I can assist in creating training that will ensure they are able to do their jobs at a high level. I want to continue to further the mission and vision for NAWCTSD and become a more competent technical expert and overall leader within this command.”
Green concluded that the award motivates her to continue working hard, saying “to whom much is given, much is required. This award simply means that I have much more work to complete.”
Technology Rising Star Awards recognize women with fewer than 22 years in the workforce, who are helping to shape future technology and have demonstrated excellence in the workplace and their communities. The recipients will each be honored at a recognition event during the Women of Color STEM Conference.
The awards program was established more than 20 years ago to recognize and encourage professionals from demographic groups that are underrepresented in STEM careers.