An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : Media : News : Article View
NEWS | Jan. 11, 2022

NSWCPD’s Crystal Roach Wins 2022 Penn State Diversity Leadership Award

By Brentan Debysingh

“I was completely overwhelmed; I felt blessed, grateful, and excited! It is truly an honor to receive an award for something that you are so passionate about.”

That was Naval Surface Warfare Center, Philadelphia Division’s (NSWCPD) Crystal Roach’s reaction when she found out she was the Penn State 2022 Smeal Diversity Leadership Award winner.

“Winning this award from the Penn State Alumni means the world to me!” she exclaimed. “Penn State has the largest alumni association in the country with more than 700,000 and [the] Smeal College of Business has 88,000. This award category only has one annual recipient, so to be recognized for my contributions in the field is one of the highest honors that I have received.”

According to the Penn State website, the Penn State 2022 Smeal Diversity Leadership Award is given to the Penn State alumni who “demonstrates a commitment to diversity and inclusion through their professional and/or volunteer accomplishments. Their achievements should support the college's goal of being a diverse and mutually supportive community that provides a climate of sensitivity, open-mindedness, and respect.”

As NSWCPD’s Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Program Complaints Manager since 2018, Roach’s primary responsibility is the processing of all formal EEO complaints against the command and overseeing the processing of informal EEO complaints as well. Roach works with all levels of the organization ensuring that they are knowledgeable regarding their EEO responsibilities and providing authoritative advice and direction to make certain that NSWCPD maintains a model EEO program. She also works closely with the NSWCPD Special Emphasis Program Manager and Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) to plan and deliver programs on diversity and inclusion, as well as programs and workshops related to career development. In addition, Roach assists with the annual Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI) Defense Organizational Climate Survey (DEOCS) and the command by helping to ensure that the workplace is free from harassment and discrimination.

Roach has served in the diversity and inclusion arena for nearly two decades and recognizes the importance of diversity, saying, “Our full range of differences are what make us strong, dynamic, intricate, and unique.”

“Diversity is important because it’s essential for success!” she added. “We must embrace that uniqueness in order to go from good to great in society, as well as in the workplace. We are all better off from differing perspectives, cultures and thoughts, so we must embrace those differences with respect and dignity.”

A Philadelphia native (born and raised in Manayunk, Pa.), Roach earned her bachelor’s degree from Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, her Executive Master in Business Administration (EMBA) from Penn State, and her Master in Public Administration from Indiana University through a Navy-sponsored cohort. Prior to NSWCPD, Roach worked at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), USDA Graduate School, Department of Treasury, U.S. Mint, and U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. She is a certified trainer for Employment Learning Innovations (ELI) in Civility and Respect in the workplace and a certified mediator.

“I was pleased when I found out that Crystal’s demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusion through her professional and/or volunteer accomplishments as an Alumni of Penn State’s Smeal College of Business had earned her a nomination for this prestigious award,” added Robert Turner, NSWCPD Deputy Director EEO. “I was ecstatic when I found out that she won the award for 2022.”

In addition to her duties at NSWCPD, Roach has been a member of the Partners in Equality (PIE) council at the Philadelphia Federal Executive Board (FEB) for 20 years and currently serves as its co-chairperson.

Roach’s career has exemplified the role of a diversity professional and winning the Penn State 2022 Smeal Diversity Leadership Award is the latest recognition of her efforts.

“To be recognized for doing the work that I love to do professionally, my collateral duty work as the Co-Chair of the PIE Council, (a committee under the Federal Executive Board comprised of Federal EEO and Civil Rights employees from the tri-state area), and the service that I’ve provided as a Penn State Alumni in the area of diversity and inclusion, as well as acting as an Informal Alumni Recruiter meeting with potential students and attending conferences to recruit women and other diverse candidates for the EMBA program, is extremely humbling,” said Roach.