Background & Challenges
I joined SURVICE in 2019 and work as a Cybersecurity Test and Evaluator for the Defensive Cyber Operations (DCO) at Aberdeen, MD. I’m originally from Madison, MS, and I’m the youngest of nine siblings. I come from a military family where four family members served in the U.S. Army (an uncle, two sisters, and a brother), and they inspired me to serve. Growing up in Mississippi in the 1970s−90s, we faced some racism in school and in our community. However, our parents gave us courage and taught us to be resilient, which helped us achieve and overcome adversity. Their guidance also encouraged my sister Olivia to join the Army, where she was one of only five African American women in a basic training platoon of 60 women and one of only about 20 African Americans in a company of roughly 240 women. Serving in many locations in the country and abroad, she excelled in several positions, including Drill Sergeant, Army instructor, team leader, and supervisor of countless Soldiers.
I served 6 years as an enlisted Soldier, providing leadership and maintenance support on aircraft survivability equipment. During that time, I supervised and mentored over 60 Soldiers. I also served as the quality assurance/quality control manager for all electronic systems on over 120 rotary wing aircraft, such as the AH-64 Apache, OH-58 Kiowa Warrior, UH-60 Blackhawk, and CH-47 Chinook.
I was one of two African Americans in my Warrant Officer Basic class of nine and one of five African American Soldiers out of 30 Soldiers selected to become Warrant Officers during a 12-month period. I administered the Oath of Enlistment to countless Soldiers to allow them to re-enlist and continue to serve in the Army.
In 2003, I was selected to serve as an Electronics Systems Maintenance Warrant Officer, where I provided support for aircraft; command, control, communication, computers, cyber, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C5ISR); chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear (CBRN); explosive ordnance disposal (EOD); and Special Operations.
While serving as a full-time Soldier, I completed an associate degree, a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity policy, and a master’s degree in cybersecurity technology. My enlisted career was highlighted by two NATO peacekeeping missions to Bosnia and Kosovo and two tours in Iraq. My career culminated as a Chief Warrant Officer Four (CW4), with 22 years of service as a Capability Developer at the Army Sustainment Center of Excellence (SCoE) in Fort Lee, VA.
I feel that my military career afforded me many valuable opportunities and experiences ranging from leadership, mentoring, logistics planning, project management, and the military acquisition of future mission capabilities. My final military position as a Capability Developer at the SCoE and my degrees in cybersecurity provided me with the skills and experience I apply now at SURVICE. In my current position of Cybersecurity Test and Evaluator, I can support the military and the country by assessing and evaluating cybersecurity weapon systems that are used to defend our nation’s networks and other critical infrastructure. Most importantly, I feel that the military has strengthened my character and determination, which helped me realize I can achieve anything.
What Black History Month Means to Me
Black History Month is a time to reflect on all the success that people of color have achieved and the history they continue to make. I’m thankful for all who have inspired me and have given me hope of what can be achieved through determination, integrity, and leadership. Black History Month is about having courage, character, and living life with a purpose to create change and leave a legacy that makes hope rise.