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NEWS | Sept. 27, 2023

NSWC Panama City computer scientist wins Women of Color Award

By Cierra Burch, NSWC PCD Public Affairs

Larriel Hester, computer scientist and test director at Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division (NSWC PCD), was recently chosen as the Women of Color Technology Rising Star Award recipient.

Hester is a level II test director for the Joint Expeditionary Command and Control (JEXC2) system, which provides a standardized, deployable Command and Control capability to the fleet. She leads teams comprised of testers and subject matter experts in hardware, software and networks, as they test and field variant systems to the Navy and Marine Corps. In the past three years, she has taken on considerably more responsibility than is typical for someone at her level of career and has led numerous test events around the world, including Japan, Spain, and Hawaii.

“Ms. Hester has only been out of school for a few years, but has abilities and maturity beyond her years,” said nominator and direct supervisor, Angela Phillips. “She is excellent at what she does and receives accolades from those who have worked with her.”

Hester’s impact is also felt outside of the office as she is highly involved in many outreach programs including Black Women in Tech, Women that Code, and Tuscaloosa City School Career Days.

“First and foremost, I would like to thank Mrs. Angela Phillips and NSWC PCD for considering me for this award,” states Hester. “When I heard that I was nominated, I was at a loss for words. Day in and day out, I am heavily focused on my work as a test director and trying to better myself as an information technology (IT) professional. My reward is seeing the countless hours of research turn into development which then turns into a tool that our servicemembers can use to better accomplish their mission. So, for others who recognized my work, and considered me for such an award, I was elated. I can only say that I am thankful for winning this award. Coming from where I come...from this a complete honor. I will continue my hard work and mentorship of others, especially women, in the IT field whose odds are always against them.” 

The Technology Rising Star Award recognizes young women with less than 15 years of career experience who are shaping technology for the future. The Women of Color Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Conference, held 12-14 October, will recognize the recipients of this award and others.