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 | May 13, 2024

NSWCPD’s Makayla Holt Receives Rosenblatt Young Naval Engineer Award

By Gary Ell

Naval Surface Warfare Center, Philadelphia Division (NSWCPD) Guided Missile Frigate (FFG) 62 Auxiliary Systems Engineering Manager (SEM) Makayla Holt received the Rosenblatt Young Naval Engineer Award during the annual American Society of Naval Engineers (ASNE) Advanced Machinery Technology Symposium (AMTS), this year held at the Delta Hotel Philadelphia Airport, on May 1-2, 2024.

Each year ASNE recognizes individuals who have demonstrated exceptional achievement in one or more facets of naval engineering. This prestigious award program honors professionals engaged in any of the many aspects of naval engineering including government employees, members of the uniformed services, and those employed in the defense industry, in academia, or elsewhere in the private sector.

Established by the ASNE Council, the Rosenblatt Young Naval Engineer Award is presented to a single award winner who will not have reached the age of 35 years by December 31 of the year of nomination, who has demonstrated remarkable, early professional achievement in naval engineering.

“Receiving the esteemed ASNE Rosenblatt Young Naval Engineer Award is truly a profound honor for me. ASNE and the field of naval engineering have been ingrained in me since I was a college student,” Holt said. “From my early involvement with the ASNE Student Chapter at Rowan University, to serving as the Communications Chair for the Delaware Valley Section and being elected twice to the ASNE National Council, it is surreal to be recognized for my contributions spanning the past 12 years.”

“To be chosen for embodying these principles is a remarkable achievement for me. This recognition validates that the years of hard work and dedication I have invested have not gone unnoticed. I am filled with so much gratitude for my colleagues and peers who nominated me and the numerous mentors who have guided me along the way. I hope to pay it forward and serve as an inspiration for young engineers in the years to come,” she added.

Holt began her naval engineering career at NSWCPD in 2013 as a Naval Research Enterprise Internship Program (NREIP) intern for the Wastewater In-Service Engineering branch. As an intern, she supported research and development of state-of-the-art wastewater processing technologies and provided technical support to the Oil Content Monitor (OCM) Program Calibration Facility. As a student during this time, she was actively involved with the ASNE Rowan University Chapter, participated in various ASNE symposiums, and contributed to the K-12 Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Student Program as a panel member for “Navy Blue is for Girls, Too” at ASNE Day.

She values continuing education and earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering degree in 2014, a Master of Engineering Management degree from Rowan University in 2016, a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification in March 2021, and a Graduate Certificate in Engineering Leadership and Innovation Management from Penn State University in December 2023.

Holt returned to NSWCPD full-time in 2014, confirming her commitment and passion for naval engineering, and currently serves as the FFG 62 Auxiliary SEM. Her duties include developing ship specifications for all auxiliary systems through efficient coordination with Technical Warrant Holders from the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) and technical experts from NSWCPD. Holt is responsible for reviewing in-house technical resources and capabilities concerning platform requirements and schedules, as well as coordinates necessary actions as needed. Her efforts include ensuring adherence to Department of Defense (DoD), Navy and NAVSEA guidelines and processes, comparing technical performance requirements of shipboard equipment, evaluating personnel availability, and applying trade-off cost and technical analysis to optimize solutions.

“Holt is particularly passionate about mentoring and strives to build the pipeline to naval engineering and enrich the development of current and future engineers,” NSWCPD Combatants Acquisition Branch Manager Chris Philip said.

“Makayla has built a reputation for providing outstanding technical support and leadership to the naval engineering community, our Navy fleet and the next generation of naval engineers,” FFG 62 Ship Design Manager at NAVSEA Joon Lee said.

A tireless champion for STEM Outreach, Holt believes the STEM outreach programs at her middle school inspired her to pursue her own engineering career. She volunteers for various STEM programs, such as the Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania summer camps and the Delaware Valley Science Fair. Holt also mentors interns in the Science and Engineering Apprenticeship Program (SEAP) and NREIP programs. Additionally, she serves as a college recruiter for NSWCPD, attends career fairs as a representative of NSWCPD, hosts college information sessions, and discusses opportunities in naval engineering with potential candidates.

Through her efforts, Holt also promotes a sense of belonging. She advocates for inclusion and actively participates in the NSWCPD Women’s Employee Resource Group (WERG) and Latin American Employee Resource Group (LAERG). She is involved with the command’s Many Voices Initiative, which aims to educate, empower, and enlighten coworkers about diversity, equality, and inclusion. She is also a member of the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) Women in Defense, which strives to educate, mentor, and provide leadership development and promote the values of supporting the defense industry.

“Throughout my career journey, I’ve been so fortunate to have the guidance and mentorship of notable individuals who have not only supported my professional development but have inspired me to continually strive for excellence,” Holt said. “I attribute much of my success to mentors like past Rosenblatt Award recipients, fellow ASNE Delaware Valley board members, and my supervisor. Their wisdom, experiences shared, and advice has undoubtedly shaped my trajectory.”

Holt also offered advice for the next generation of naval engineering professionals.

“ … Stay hungry for knowledge. This field is so dynamic; there will never be a shortage of challenges and opportunities,” Holt said, adding, “By keeping your curiosity alive and embracing new opportunities to learn, you’re not just growing your skillset – you’re also leaning into a mindset of continuous improvement that will help you in all aspects of your life and improve your confidence.”

She continued: “Also, don’t underestimate the power of going above and beyond. Go the extra mile. It might feel daunting and may not be immediately rewarding, but these efforts don’t go unnoticed and compound over time. They will pave the way for success down the road and inevitably lead you to make your mark in the field of naval engineering.”

As a proactive member of ASNE since 2014, Holt has held a leadership role on the ASNE-Delaware Valley (ASNE-DV) Section board, where she has been integral to the success and reinvigoration of the section. She is also the Delaware Valley Section’s communications chair.

NSWCPD employs approximately 2,800 civilian engineers, scientists, technicians, and support personnel. The NSWCPD team does the research and development, test and evaluation, acquisition support, and in-service and logistics engineering for the non-nuclear machinery, ship machinery systems, and related equipment and material for Navy surface ships and submarines. NSWCPD is also the lead organization providing cybersecurity for all ship systems.