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Valerie Martin-Stewart, Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division electrical engineer, was honored with a Special Recognition Award at the 2012 Women of Color Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Conference in Dallas on Oct. 13.

The conference celebrated the achievements of women in the U.S. 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,” Stewart said. She also expressed her gratitude to Vonn Banks for nominating her for the award.

“It was my pleasure to nominate Dr. Stewart for this award,” said Banks, command master chief petty officer of Naval Sea Systems Command, in a Navy news release, “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.”

Stewart cited her service of more than 20 years as a civilian in the Army, Air Force and now Navy as what 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,” Stewart said in the release. “Balance is the key.”

Stewart joined the Spectrum Team in the Electromagnetic and Sensor Systems Department at NSWCDD 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.

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

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

She was inducted into her alma mater University of Alabama in Huntsville’s — Hall of Fame for her academics and athletics achievements.

This report was written by Cindy Miller, NSWCDD staff writer.