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NEWS | May 24, 2021

Sew Service-Minded: NSWCDD Systems Engineer Recognized for Community Service Contributions

By NSWCDD Corporate Communications

Bailey Heyman is the type of person to take action when she sees something is not as it should be. Where others may talk the talk, the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) systems engineer is already walking the walk and making changes for the better.

Equipped with a sense of obligation to use her skills to help others, Heyman sprang into action at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. An avid sewing hobbyist, she saw the massive need arise for masks and decided to sew some for her friends, communities in need and for NSWCDD. By her estimates, Heyman sewed more than 1,000 masks over the first few months of the pandemic.

“They’re not super fancy looking, but this was at the point when no one had anything,” said Heyman. “I made a couple hundred for base at Dahlgren and a lot got sent to friends who work in medicine back in Texas. I actually took a long break from sewing after.”

Her efforts during the early months of the pandemic were no one-off, however. Heyman is a serial volunteer with a knack for staying busy and lending a helping hand. Involved in multiple volunteer efforts since college, Heyman is committed to improving the communities she is involved in.

“You can’t speak negatively of something if you’re not willing to actually change it,” said Heyman, as she cycled through her various volunteer efforts of the last few years. “Before I complain about something I at least try and see what’s going on and that’s actually why I kept getting involved in other programs. For example, I began to do a lot with dog rescuing because when I was going through the adoption process for one of my German Shepherds it was a frustrating process. I thought there had to be a reason why. So then I signed up to be an applicant processor and actually learn it on the other side and I said, ‘OK, I get it now.’”

This selfless mindset is what motivates Heyman’s life of service. Born to two engineers and sister to another, Heyman studied electrical engineering at Texas Tech University. During her sophomore year, she took an officer position in the Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Soon after graduation, she joined the IEEE student activities committee where she mainly helped organize the annual student competition for the southeast United States. Heyman mostly worked on creating ethics case studies for the students to analyze before noting a dire need to improve students’ professional development. Heyman and her committee created new competitions that focused on networking and resume building.

“I was lucky that my dad was really good at resumes. From the beginning, he made sure that my sister and I had strong resumes. I had that advantage of having my dad’s help, but I was seeing many students who seemed like they didn’t have a similar advantage. Really, what drove me to [create the professional development competitions] was seeing such a gap. Students don’t have classes where they work on this and it really makes a difference. And especially with networking – electrical engineers do tend to be more awkward conversationalists and working on that elevator pitch and getting students used to it is really important.”

By her actions, Heyman takes a strong stance against idle hands and has no trouble staying busy. Between the IEEE, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) outreach with local youth and her hobbies, the NSWCDD engineer is a leader by example and an inspiration to contribute time and knowledge to those who need it.

“There’s this undeniable characteristic of human nature to want to do something and we have a natural drive often to want to make a difference,” Heyman said. “I think filling that drive is a huge reason to do outreach and do community service.”

A recipient of this year’s Distinguished Community Service Award, Heyman is being recognized for her valuable contributions to STEM communities, NSWCDD and the IEEE.