Monday, January 13, 2014

Female Navy Engineers and Scientists Worth Knowing More About

Captain Barbara A. Sisson retired in 2008 after a pioneering 28 year career in the Navy’s Civil Engineering Corps. She distinguished herself as the first female instructor at the Civil Engineer Corps Officer School and the first female regimental commodore of a CD regiment, the 3rd Naval Construction Regiment.

Rear Admiral Jan E. Tighe, continues service as the Deputy Commander, Fleet Cyber Command/TENTH Fleet.  She earned her PhD in Electrical Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School.  She was the CHIEF Engineer at the Naval Information Warfare Activity Suitland, Maryland.  She is the senior engineer in the Information Warfare Community.

Rear Admiral Kathleen Gregory continues her service as Commander, NAVFAC Engineering Command and Chief of Civil Engineers.  She is a 1982 graduate of USNA and is a registered professional engineer in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  She is a Seabee Combat Warfare Officer.

Rear Admiral Alma Grocki continues her service as Deputy Chief of Staff for Fleet Maintenance, Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet.  She is a 1981 USNA graduate.  She completed her Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of New Hampshire. 

Captain Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper is on active duty in the Navy.  She holds Bachelor of Science (1984) and Master of Science (1985) degrees in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).  She is also a NASA Astronaut.

And, one of my favorites -

Captain Wendy Barrien Lawrence is a retired United States Navy Captain, former helicopter pilot, an engineer, and a former NASA astronaut. She was the first female graduate of the United States Naval Academy to fly into space and she has also visited the Russian Space Station Mir. She was a mission specialist on STS-114, the first Space Shuttle flight after the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster.

Please help me add to this list.


Sean P. Walsh said...


Some input for updating your entry.

Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper is currently the Commander, Southwest Regional Maintenance Center, Pacific and has also been the Commander, Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division before that. You didn't mention it but she's a member of the Engineering Duty Community. Her current bio is at

Another member of the ED community is retired RADM Kathleen (Kate) Paige. Her bio is at:

Finally, Grace Hopper ( needs to be on your list for her contributions to the Navy and to computer science. Also, she was honored with a Google Doodle this past Dec. 6 on what would have been her 107th birthday (

Sean Walsh
LCDR USN (Engineering Duty) (Ret.)

Mike Lambert said...

@ Sean P. Walsh

Commander, Just the kind of help I was looking for. Thank you very much!! And, thank you for your Service.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, there is little utility in having engineers as URL officers. Perhaps CEC and ED, but when was the last time a billet or job was available for an officer to re-write some software, or design a new system. We pay contractors to hire experienced and dedicated engineers to do that work. Many of our engineers become Program Managers, not a very satisfying job from the engineering standpoint. Hence, a lot of engineers, who really want to do engineering get out of the navy or change their designator to ED or CEC.
Of course this has not stopped the CNO from mandating NROTC be populated with STEM majors. He is creating a manning crises. As all those budding engineers are going to be frustrated at what they are not allowed or able to do.

Anonymous said...

While it is great to applaud efforts of those who overcome challenges to become successful, it is dangerous to pick a single group over antoher as it is simply discrimination disquised as diversity.

There are a lot of things that distinguish individuals (race, color, sex, religion, etc.), but the only thing that should matter is performance. That is why we as a nation, service, and as individuals need to stop celebrating performance of individuals that fit within a particular group. Why not celebrate the successes of Sailors who overcame great odds to become successful instead of female officers who become successful. The implied untruth here is that they became successful simply because they were best it is a half truth.

Sorry picked a sore spot...diversity as a whole feeds the discrimination engine more than anything else from my POV.