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Dr. Valerie Martin-Stewart, Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) electrical engineer, was honored with a "Special Recognition Award" at the 2012 Women of Color STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math] Conference in Dallas on Oct. 13. The conference, themed "Waves of Change, Oceans of Opportunity," was hosted by General Dynamics Corporation and Women of Color magazine and specifically celebrated the achievements of women in the Navy.

"The conference exceeded my expectations! I'm so honored and overwhelmed by all the great women and men I met, plus to be able to serve as a panelist on two seminars was a treat," Dr. Stewart said. She also expressed her gratitude to Command Master Chief Vonn Banks for nominating her for such an award.

"It was my pleasure to nominate Dr. Stewart for this award," stated Banks, Command Master Chief of Naval Sea Systems Command, "first for her gratitude and loyalty to the command at Dahlgren; secondly, she has an inner determination to succeed and bring others along. I believe her story is one that generation after generation can benefit from in motivating others to succeed."

Dr. Stewart cited her service of 20 plus years as a civilian in the Army, Air Force and now Navy that has led to her journey to success.

"Remembering that my road has not always been smooth makes this award more special. I believe my personal, professional and spiritual experiences are directly intertwined and have brought me to this place today," said Dr. Stewart. "Balance is the key."

"I was very inspired to have rear admirals, commanders, and directors attending my leadership seminars and then approaching me afterwards wanting photos with me. To have the rear admirals return and highly recommend me for speaking engagements at other government agencies is overwhelming!

"The climax of the entire conference was to have other young professionals approach me and ask if I would serve as their mentor," adds Dr. Stewart. "I'm so thankful for every positive and negative experience in my life for without them both, I wouldn't be where I am today. I'm determined even more to assist others in achieving their full potential, for greatness is within each one of us."

The "Women to Women: Up Close and Personal," workshop was one of the venues that provided opportunities for women from the executive ranks to mentor up-and-coming professionals. "This workshop has changed the way many women view their roles in the workplace and has helped many to create a healthy balance between work and their personal lives," according to the Career Communications Group web site.

Dr. Stewart joined the Spectrum Team in NSWCDD's Electromagnetic and Sensor Systems Department (Q) in 2011. Her government career began with the Space and Missile Defense Command where she learned modeling and simulation. Through her work in the Testbed Product Office, she attended conferences to demonstrate and brief the capabilities that her office provided. She later transferred to the Aviation Engineering Directorate where she conducted avionics and weapons integrations aboard Army helicopters.

Dr. Stewart's support of the Department of the Air Force introduced her to the world of spectrum management. She performed space registrations on DoD satellites, participated in bilateral meetings with other countries as well as assisted the certification team to carry out the certification process. She received numerous awards from the Army and the Air Force for her service and performance as an electrical engineer.

She has served as the keynote speaker at the Library of Congress, Department of Treasury, U.S. Census Bureau Headquarters, Marine Base Quantico, Blacks in Government National Training Conference (2007-2012), National Congress of Black Women, and many other government and non-government activities.

Dr. Stewart is the author of three books, an ordained minister, and founder of a non-profit organization. She played professional basketball in Peru, Australia and Italy and worked for the Australian government as a computer systems officer.

She has been interviewed on the Federal News Radio show in Washington, D.C., and many radio and television stations nationwide. She was inducted into her Alma Mater's Hall of Fame, University of Alabama in Huntsville, for her academics and athletics achievements.