February 2018 is National African American History Month.
“From the early days of the American Revolution to the trenches of World War I and II; from the jungles of Vietnam to the deserts and mountains of Iraq and Afghanistan, and present day missions around the world, African Americans have honorably served to defend this great nation.”
~DoD Observance Memo
Airmen honor Tuskegee Airmen by completing heritage flight from Travis Air Force Base, Calif., to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, and returning to Travis, Calif., Feb. 28, 2018. Photos by Air Force Master Sgt. Joey Swafford
Airmen load cargo onto a C-5M Super Galaxy aircraft during a Tuskegee Airmen heritage flight at the Robert Gray Army Airfield in Killeen, Texas, Feb. 25, 2018. Photos by Air Force Master Sgt. Joey Swafford
Airmen fly in a C-5M Super Galaxy aircraft during a Tuskegee Airmen heritage flight over the Atlantic Ocean, Feb. 26, 2018. Photos by Air Force Master Sgt. Joey Swafford
Air Force Maj. Jeanette E. Skow is the staff judge advocate for the Air Force Institute of Technology, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. In this capacity... Full Profile
Navy Lt. Cmdr. Mishonda M. Mosley is the command judge advocate aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush. Her educational background... Full Profile
Marine Corps Maj. LaBarron L. McBride is the executive officer of Ground Supply School, Marine Corps Combat Service Support Schools, Camp Johnson... Full Profile
Air Force Capt. Corey W. Robinson is the manpower and personnel officer for the Joint Force Headquarters of the Minnesota National Guard. In this position... Full Profile
Master Gunnery Sgt. Kejuan J. Hull is the maintenance management chief for Marine Forces Reserve. He enlisted in the Marine Corps April 10, 1995. Full Profile
Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer Phillip Jean-Gilles is assigned to the Navy Medicine Professional Development Center as the senior enlisted leader... Full Profile
Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Keith Castille is the operations superintendent for the Profession of Arms Center of Excellence, Headquarters... Full Profile
Environmental engineer Ivenetta Smith is an emerging leader in the Naval Sea Systems Command’s industrial operation directorate. This organization is... Full Profile
Willie F. Harper Jr. is a professor at the Air Force Institute of Technology, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. His duties include research and teaching... Full Profile
Shirley D. Stephens is the sexual assault response coordinator for Marine Corps Combat Service Support Schools, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. She is responsible for... Full Profile
Air Force Capt. Corey W. Robinson is the manpower and personnel officer for the Joint Force Headquarters of the Minnesota National Guard. In this position he coordinates and oversees personnel actions.
As an additional duty, he is the advisor for the African American/Black special emphasis council. In this position, he networks with communities to promote and foster a positive relationship with the Minnesota National Guard. He works with internal customers to foster inclusive leadership principles that help ensure we have a trained and ready force.
He graduated from Westmar University with a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing and management in 1994 and received his associate’s degree in financial management from the Community College of the Air Force in 1995.
Robinson began his military career in 1992 with basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. In October 1992, he graduated from Financial Services Specialist School at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, and then began serving at the 185th Air Refueling Wing as an accounting technician as a traditional Air National Guard member. After a two-year break in service in 1998, he returned to the 185th ARW to resume his career in the finance and travel department. In January 2009, at the age of 39, the governor of Iowa granted the 39-year-old Robinson to attend the Academy of Military Science at McGhee-Tyson Air National Guard Base, Tennessee, to become the first African-American commissioned officer for the 185th Air Refueling Wing in Sioux City, Iowa. When he graduated in February 2009, he assumed the position of military equal opportunity officer.
In April 2009, he completed the Equal Opportunity Advisor Reserve Component Program-1 module as a distance-learning prerequisite for in-residence attendance at Equal Opportunity Advisor Reserve Component Program-2 at the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute, Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, in January 2010. In March 2011, he completed the Force Support Officer Course at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, to become both force support and personnel support qualified. Robinson transferred to Minnesota’s 133rd Airlift Wing as a personnel officer in October 2015. In April 2016, he was appointed to a full-time position as the sexual assault response coordinator. Prior to attending training for this new position, Robinson was selected for his current position with Joint Force Headquarters.
Navy Lt. Cmdr. Mishonda M. Mosley is the command judge advocate aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush. Her educational background includes a Bachelor of Science degree in human development and family relations from the University of Connecticut in 1994; a Master of Science degree in counseling psychology from Bowie State University in 2003; a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Baltimore School of Law with a concentration in business law and government and public service in 2004; a Master of Divinity degree with a concentration in urban ministry from Wesley Theological Seminary in 2008; and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Wesley Theological Seminary in 2012. She was commissioned in October 2008 through the Direct Accession Program. She was admitted to the Maryland Bar in 2004.
Before entering the Navy, Mosley served as an assistant state’s attorney for Maryland’s Anne Arundel County from January 2007 until October 2008. She enlisted in the Army Reserve in 1989 and subsequently deployed in support of Operation Desert Storm with the Connecticut Army National Guard in 1990 as a combat medic. In 1994, she was commissioned through the ROTC program at the University of Connecticut as a Regular Army intelligence officer. She attended the Intelligence Officer Basic Course in 1995 and was selected to attend the Counterintelligence Officer Course that same year. She was stationed at Fort Meade Maryland, where she served as Bravo Company’s executive officer, 1st platoon leader, group executive officer and counterintelligence special agent. In 1998, she was promoted to captain.
During law school, she served as a county commissioner and was elected as the national chair of the National Black Law Students Association for two terms. She traveled to Egypt and Jordan as a U.S. delegate in 2005 with the American Council of Young Political Leaders.
After graduation from Naval Justice School in 2009, her first duty assignment was at Naval Legal Service Office North Central in Washington, D.C. She served as defense counsel, legal assistance attorney, Physical Evaluation Board attorney and branch head at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Her second tour was at Region Legal Service Office Southeast in Meridian, Mississippi, as the installation staff judge advocate. Her next assignment was as Defense Counsel in Yokosuka, Japan, where she was selected into the military justice litigation career track.
She was the 2012 Naval Legal Service Command's junior officer of the year in 2012. Her awards and decorations include the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with one gold star, the Army Commendation Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with one gold star, the Army Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Southwest Asia Service Medal with three bronze stars, the U.S. military’s Kuwait Liberation Medal and the Kuwait Liberation Medal awarded by the Kuwaiti government.
Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Keith Castille is the operations superintendent for the Profession of Arms Center of Excellence, Headquarters Air Education and Training Command, Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas.
Under the strategic direction of senior Air Force leadership, he aids in the development, coordination and execution of Air Force professionalism efforts through the Enhancing Human Capital initiative and Professionalism Strategic Roadmap. He facilitates professional development and leadership courses around the world, supporting all Air Force major commands and affecting more than 650,000 total force airmen.
He was born in Lafayette, Louisiana. Following graduation from Lafayette High School, he joined the Air Force on Nov. 29, 1995. Upon graduating from Basic Military Training, he attended armament systems apprentice technical training at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, and then reported to his first duty station at Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina.
Castille amassed more than 4,000 curriculum teaching hours as a weapons maintenance Instructor at Tyndall Air Force, Florida. After four years of career broadening in professional military education, he ventured back in the armament systems world at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, leading a weapons section, before moving on to his current position.
He holds Associate in Applied Science degrees in armament systems and in instructor of technology and military science from the Community College of the Air Force, an Associate in Arts degree in social science from Gulf Coast Community College, a Bachelor of Science degree in workforce education and development from Southern Illinois University and a Master of Science degree in human resource management from Troy University.
His military awards and decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal and the Air Force Achievement Medal.
Willie F. Harper Jr. is a professor at the Air Force Institute of Technology, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. His duties include research and teaching in the general area of environmental engineering and science, with a particular focus on the use of bacteria to degrade or detect water pollutants.
Harper has executed more than $2.5 million of externally sponsored research involving a combination of laboratory experiments and modeling. His research is internationally-acclaimed. He has generated 73 publications, including 41 peer-reviewed journal articles, and he has been awarded with numerous competitive research grants from the National Science Foundation, the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Geological Survey and the Air Force Medical Service Agency. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles; a Master of Engineering degree in civil and environmental engineering from Cornell University; and a doctorate in civil and environmental engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.
He has advised or co-advised five doctoral students, 21 master’s degree students, three postdoctoral researchers and 19 undergraduate research assistants. Harper’s seminal works include:
He has taught numerous courses in water quality, microbiology and environmental policy. He is a licensed professional engineer, and has also mentored at-risk youth, including long-term inmates at San Quentin state penitentiary, middle school students in rural Alabama, young people in the Manchester area of Pittsburgh, and youth in Huron, Ohio, as part of outreach activities with the Old Woman Creek Estuary Research Reserve.
Harper is an associate editor for Water Science and Technology, an international journal that publishes peer-reviewed papers on various aspects of water and wastewater treatment. He is a member of the Water Environment Research Foundation Nutrient Recovery Challenge Committee, a role that allows him to shape the topics for the foundation’s future research projects. He also works on numerous proposal review panels and volunteer committees, and he serves AFIT in a number of key roles, including as laboratory supervisor and as the curriculum committee chair for the Environmental Engineering and Science Program.
Master Gunnery Sgt. Kejuan J. Hull is the maintenance management chief for Marine Forces Reserve.
He enlisted in the Marine Corps April 10, 1995. Upon completion of recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina, he was assigned to Marine Combat Training and Motor Transport Operators Course at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. In September 1995, upon completion of Marine Combat Training and Motor Transport Operators Course, he was transferred to the 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, Camp Pendleton, California, for duty as a motor transport operator. During this tour, he was promoted to sergeant.
In August 2000, Hull was assigned to 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, Twentynine Palms, California. In January 2004, newly promoted to staff sergeant, he was transferred from Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, California, to 2nd Force Reconnaissance Company, Camp Lejeune, serving as the maintenance management chief for the Electronic Key Management System, urinalysis coordinator, Status of Resources and Training System liaison and Marine Corps Ball coordinator.
As a gunnery sergeant in March 2008, Hull was selected to be the team chief for the District Police Transition Team in Fallujah, Iraq. His duties included oversight of 15 police substations, prisoner transfers and the release program. In 2012, as a master sergeant, he reported to 3rd Marine Division, Headquarters Battalion, where he served as the maintenance management chief.
In 2014, Hull was selected for duty at Marine Barracks Washington, D.C., as senior enlisted host, where he designed hosting and escort plans for numerous high-profile events featuring senior government officials, members of Congress, Supreme Court justices, foreign dignitaries, and senior U.S. and foreign military officials. In 2015, Hull was assigned as project officer in the College of Distance Education and Training’s digital content department in Quantico, Virginia, designing and facilitating courses, workshops, presentations and seminars.
As a master gunnery sergeant, he assumed his current duties in 2017.
His personal awards include the Meritorious Service Medal with gold star in lieu of second award, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with gold star in lieu of second award, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with gold star in lieu of second award, and the Volunteer Service Medal, which he earned through involvement with numerous community projects and youth sport mentorship programs.
Air Force Maj. Jeanette E. Skow is the staff judge advocate for the Air Force Institute of Technology, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. In this capacity, she serves as the principal legal advisor to the chancellor and commander on all legal matters (such as military justice, civil law, ethics, labor law) affecting the command, which includes more than 2,000 military and civilian personnel worldwide.
She received a four-year full-tuition ROTC scholarship and was commissioned through Princeton University’s ROTC program in June 1998. While at Princeton, she was a four-year member of the varsity swimming team. She graduated from Princeton with a Bachelor of Arts degree in politics, holds a Master of Arts degree (summa cum laude) in applied behavioral science from Wright State University. She entered active duty in July 1998, serving as an Intelligence officer at the National Air Intelligence Center, and she later deployed as a theater collections officer to the Balkans Combined Air Operation Center.
In 2002, Skow was selected for the highly-competitive Funded Legal Education Program and attended the University of Cincinnati College of Law, earning a Juris Doctor degree.. While in law school, she served as a mentor to the university’s ROTC cadets, was the treasurer of the Black Law Students Association and was an active participant in minority recruitment events. She was designated as a judge advocate in 2005 and has held positions at the wing and numbered air force levels, as well as the,Air Force headquarters and Defense Department activity levels.
Skow’s military decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, with one oak leaf cluster, the Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster; the Air Force Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster; the Joint Service Achievement Medal; the Afghanistan Campaign Medal; the Kosovo Campaign Medal; the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal and the NATO Medal, with one oak leaf cluster.
She is originally from Staten Island, New York, and is married to Brian P. Skow, formerly of Tipp City, Ohio, and they have two children. In her personal time throughout her military career, Skow has devoted countless volunteer hours to her community, including as a “big sister” with the Big Brothers/Big Sisters organization, as a religious education instructor and as a Girl Scout Troop Leader.
Environmental engineer Ivenetta Smith is an emerging leader in the Naval Sea Systems Command’s industrial operation directorate. This organization is responsible for operating the nation’s naval shipyards and the supervisors of shipbuilding; developing and implementing Navy ship maintenance and modernization policy and implementing Navy safety and environmental protection policies at all of the Navy’s industrial facilities.
Smith works in concert with the five program executive offices responsible for all naval ship construction to integrate environmental safety and occupation health risk management into the overall systems engineering and acquisition processes across ships life cycle. She revival of the 2012 Programmatic Environmental Safety Health Evaluation Template into a robust working document, including a simplified acquisition chart that illustrates the creative evolution of necessary environmental safety and occupation health documentation, critical to ensuring that acquisition programs do not miss mandatory requirements that can become extremely expensive to retrofit.
She also has an active role in developing a set of leadership operating principles designed to improve organizational effectiveness and promote a sustainable culture of leadership at every level. She has personally trained 53 supervisors on the meaning, spirit and intent of these operating principles and continues to champion practical implementation with the entire workforce.
Smith joined NAVSEA in 2009 as part of the Naval Acquisition Intern Program after completing her Master of Science degree in civil engineering with a concentration in energy conservation at the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro, North Carolina. Her previous assignments include tours of duty in many locations, including:
Since joining NAVSEA, Smith has continued her personal and professional self-growth by achieving her Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act Level 2 certification in in both systems engineering and facilities engineering; completing acquisition journeyman leadership development training, a congressional matters seminar and NAVSEA’s independent logistics assessment training.
Active in her community, Smith volunteers for the Central Union Mission, a Washington-based nonprofit organization that sponsors family ministries, operates an emergency shelter program, and runs a food, clothing and furniture distribution center and programs for isolated seniors. She is an Outreach Leader at the Spirit of Faith Christian Center in Temple Hills, Maryland.
Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer Phillip Jean-Gilles is assigned to the Navy Medicine Professional Development Center as the senior enlisted leader for the directorate for academics and director for the Executive Medical Department Enlisted Course.
He was born Jan. 4, 1979, in Evanston, Illinois, and joined the Navy in June 1999. Upon graduation from boot camp, he moved across the street at Naval Station Great Lakes, Illinois, completing hospital corpsman school with follow-on orders to complete Field Medical Service School at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
His first assignment was at the Washington Navy Yard’s Branch Medical Clinic, serving as immunization and allergy technician and emergency medical technician, where he advanced to petty officer third class. He also served as the corpsman for Marines at Marine Corps Barracks Washington and on several training operations with 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines, at Camp Lejeune.
In March 2002, he attended Neuropsychiatric Technician School, earning the 8485 Navy enlisted classification code at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Upon graduation, he was advanced to petty officer second class and transferred to Naval Hospital Great Lakes, Illinois. While assigned there, he served as a ward corpsman, and in February 2003, he deployed to Joint Task Force Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as an individual augment, where he provided care to detainees and served as fire warden in direct support for 650 staff members.
He returned to Great Lakes and assumed the role of leading petty officer for the Separation Barracks, Recruit Training Command. Jean-Gilles volunteered a second time and deployed in January 2005 with 1st Battalion, 6th Marines, 2nd Marine Division, to Fallujah, Iraq as a member of the training cadre, where he trained more than 400 Iraqi security forces personnel on tactical combat casualty care. When he returned to Great Lakes, he was selected to serve as leading petty officer for the internal medicine clinic. In July 2006, he volunteered for his third deployment to Expeditionary Medical Facility Kuwait, serving as transportation specialist and combat lifesaver instructor in support of Kuwait’s national guard.
In May 2007, he transferred to Naval Hospital Yokosuka, Japan, where he advanced to petty officer first class and was assigned as leading petty officer in behavioral services. In August 2008, his fourth deployment was with Regimental Combat Team 5, 1st Marine Division, where he served as leading petty officer of the shock-trauma platoon and Enlisted Fleet Marine Force Warfare Specialist coordinator.
In August 2009, upon his return from his deployment, he transferred to Global Service Assignment orders to Expeditionary Combat Readiness Center Norfolk Forward, Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany, where he served as leading petty officer for the inpatient unit while simultaneously serving as command career counselor. In March 2010, he reported to Naval Hospital Rota, Spain, where he served as leading petty officer for the medical services directorate.
While stationed at Rota, he was selected as sailor of the year for Navy Medicine East and Naval Station Rota. In 2012, he was selected to serve at U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Headquarters Forward in Bagram, Afghanistan. He served as leading petty officer for Mobile Care Team 6 and later was selected for promotion to chief petty officer. Upon completion of his deployment, he transferred to 1st Medical Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, Camp Pendleton, California, where he served as the senior enlisted leader for Charlie Surgical Company and as EFMFWS coordinator. He also served as acting command master chief and deployed to Oman in support of Native Fury 16. Upon completion of his tour in June 2016, he was selected to be a senior chief petty officer and was transferred to his current tour Assignment.
His personal awards and decorations include the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (five awards), the Army Commendation Medal, the Joint Service Achievement Medal, the Navy and Marine Achievement Medal (five awards) and the Combat Action Ribbon.
Marine Corps Maj. LaBarron L. McBride is the executive officer of Ground Supply School, Marine Corps Combat Service Support Schools, Camp Johnson, North Carolina. He previously served as the operations officer.
McBride majored in human services with an emphasis in psychology at Martin Methodist College in May 2001. From May 2001 to February 2003, he worked as a case manager and co-therapist with Jefferson, Blount, and St. Clair County Mental Health Authority as a part of Project Family Integrity Network Demonstration, providing mental health services for children, adolescents and their families and aid in prevention of out-of-home placement.
He enlisted in the Marine Corps in February 2003 and completed recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina, as an honor graduate in May 2003. He attended Marine Combat Training at the School of Infantry East, Camp Geiger, North Carolina, in June 2003. He then continued to Marine Corps Communications Electronics School, graduating as a data network administrator and receiving the Warrior Award.
In June 2003, he was assigned to 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, 1st Marine Division, where he was assigned as a data network administrator within the communications platoon. In May 2004, he was selected for the Enlisted Commissioning Program and attended Officer Candidate School, where he was commissioned in August 2004. Following graduation from The Basic School, he attended the Ground Supply Officer Course in October 2005 and was subsequently assigned to Headquarters Company, 5th Marine Regiment. There, he served as the Headquarters Company supply officer, and shortly after, as regimental supply officer.
In 2006, McBride deployed with Regimental Combat Team 5 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, serving regimental and headquarters supply officer. In February 2008, he reported to The Basic School in Quantico Virginia, to serve as a member of the instructor cadre. While at The Basic School, he deployed from September 2008 to May 2009 as an individual augment in support of OIF as a platoon commander and the company commander for Delta Company, Anti-Terrorism Battalion.
McBride deployed to Liberia in January 2010 as an individual augment in support of Operation Onward Liberty, where he served as a brigade mentor to the Liberian armed forces to assist with the development of a national military that is responsible, operationally capable and respectful of civilian authority and the rule of law. In February 2011, Major McBride returned to The Basic School and executed orders to Officer Candidate School, where he served as a platoon commander for Kilo Company prior to attending Expeditionary Warfare School. In May 2013, he was assigned to 3rd Marine Special Operations Battalion as the using-unit supply officer. Upon completion of his tour, he was selected to attend Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, completing the Irregular Warfare Scholars Program and Special Operations Campaign Artist Program.
McBride holds multiple credentials as a firearms instructor and serves as a volunteer firefighter. Additionally, he serves as a volunteer coach for basketball and volleyball at his community recreation center and is active at the Onslow Community Soup Kitchen.
Army National Guard Sgt. 1st Class Eric Ramirez serves as the Army National Guard's federal technician material handler supervisor, as well as an Officer Candidate School instructor/writer. He was born in Weslaco, Texas, in December 1984 and enlisted in the Minnesota National Guard in 2001.
Ramirez served as a vehicle driver for Bravo Company Forward, 434th Main Support Battalion, Austin, Minnesota, from June 2004 to January 2005. He then served as a vehicle driver for Bravo Company, 50tth Main Support Battalion, Forward Operating Base Speicher, Iraq, from January 2005 to November 2005. In February 2009, Ramirez mobilized again, this time to Afghanistan, as a heavy vehicle driver with the 114th Transportation Company, Duluth, Minnesota. He mobilized for the third time to Kuwait as a squad leader for Gulf Company, 134th Brigade Support Battalion Headquarters, 1st Brigade Combat Team, Saint Peter, Minnesota, from September 2010 to November 2012.
Ramirez has served as the Hispanic Employment Program Special Emphasis Program manager since August 2016, engaging Hispanic employees and organizing heritage events during National Hispanic Heritage Month.
Ramirez has earned numerous decorations, awards and citations in his 15-year military career. These include: the Army Commendation Medal with bronze oak leaf cluster; the Army Achievement Medal with bronze oak leaf cluster; the Army Good Conduct Medal; the National Defense Service Medal; the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with two campaign stars; the Iraq campaign medal with a campaign star; the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal; the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; the Armed Forces Reserve Medal with bronze hourglass device and mobilization device; the NCO Professional Development Ribbon with number 3 device; the Army Service Ribbon; the Overseas Service Ribbon with number 3 device; the NATO Medal; the Minnesota Good Conduct Ribbon with bronze oak leaf cluster; the Minnesota Service Ribbon with V Device; the South Dakota Distinguished Service Award; the Meritorious Unit Commendation; the Combat Action Badge; the Driver and Mechanic Badge with driver-wheeled vehicle clasp.
Shirley D. Stephens is the sexual assault response coordinator for Marine Corps Combat Service Support Schools, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. She is responsible for sexual assault awareness, prevention, and response preparedness throughout a command that trains more than 8,000 Marines a year, many of them in the age group of 18 to 22, which is particularly at risk for sexual assault.
MCCSSS earned the Department of Defense Sexual Assault Prevention Innovation Unit Award in 2014, and Stephens won the Individual Award for 2015.
Stephens was born in Trenton, New Jersey, and graduated from Ewing High School in 1976. She was employed as an administrative assistant at Educational Testing Service in Princeton, N.J., from 1977 to 1991. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology in 1992 from The College of New Jersey and a Master of Arts degree in human resource management from Webster University in 2010.
Her work with nonprofit organizations as a program developer and manager began in February 1991, as the crisis intervention counselor for victims of rape and sexual assault for the Mercer County Rape Crisis Program in Trenton, N.J. For more than five years, she provided crisis intervention and referral and follow-up services, facilitated community prevention and education workshops, and developed campaigns on prevention and risk reduction.
In February 1993, she worked with Head Start Inc. in Trenton for the Family Transition Program, helping family members, teachers and public school personnel manage the transition of Head Start children entering the public school system. This program provided needs assessment, resource referrals, life skills, safety awareness, and specialized events to engage families in their children’s development. In March 1994, Stephens worked for Greater Trenton Behavioral HealthCare as an adolescent and adult case manager.
Stephens and her family moved to Marietta, Georgia, in August 1996, and she continued with her work in support of nonprofit organizations with Samaritan House of Atlanta. For more than nine years, she served as program director of employment readiness, a career development and employment readiness program servicing homeless men and women. This program resulted in about $10 million in earned wages annually by participants finding full-time permanent employment. For Samaritan House she recruited and supervised long-term national and international full-time volunteer staff, and managed more than 100 community volunteers annually.
In June 2005, Stephens returned to her native New Jersey and began her work with the federal government as the sexual assault response coordinator for the U.S. Army installation for mobilization and deployment readiness at Fort Dix, N.J., where she spearheaded the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program. In January 2007, she returned to Georgia as the sexual assault response coordinator for U.S. Army Installation Management Command, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart/Hunter Army Airfield. In March 2009, while still at Fort Stewart, she shifted to the Army Substance Abuse Program as a risk reduction program coordinator, consolidated and analyzing installation risk data for 23 behavioral areas. She worked with mission commanders on identified high-risk units to determine appropriate prevention and intervention strategies in support of the unit’s force-generation cycle.
In February 2013, Ms. Stephens was selected to her current position. She has been particularly successful in soliciting uniformed personnel to serve as victim’s advocates and managing their training and continued certification. She lives in Jacksonville, North Carolina, and has two married children and one grandson.