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NEWS | July 6, 2021

SERMC Civilian selected as Women of Color STEM Magazine “Technology All Star”

By Scott Curtis, SERMC Public Affairs

Crystal Taylor, an Information Technology (IT) professional at Southeast Regional Maintenance Center (SERMC), was recognized by the Women of Color (WOC) STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) Magazine as a “Technology All Star” recently. The WOC STEM magazine is focused on the development of women in STEM careers and to recognize the superior performance displayed by women of color from across the United States.

According to the WOC STEM website, “Technology All-Stars” are accomplished career women of color that demonstrate excellence in the workplace and in their communities. Taylor will be honored during the Women of Color STEM Conference in October 2021.

Ms. Nadia Tepper, SERMC’s Executive Director said, “I have witnessed first-hand the respect and admiration bestowed upon Ms. Taylor from her peers and superiors alike.  She has earned a dignified stature through servant leadership and technical competence, and selflessly commits herself to strategic initiatives that raise the profile of SERMC and make a difference in the lives of others.”

As SERMC's STEM Outreach Coordinator, Taylor developed a nationally recognized STEM outreach program via the SeaPerch program. SeaPerch is a collaborative effort between the Office of Naval Research and the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers and gives middle and high school students the opportunity to learn about robotics and solve problems using STEM by building and testing underwater remotely operated vehicles (ROV).

Taylor established the annual Regional SeaPerch competition in Northeast Florida in 2014 and leads a group of volunteers from SERMC that support four local SeaPerch teams. SERMC’s STEM outreach program includes 35 schools and supports more than 500 students every school year. SERMC sponsored SeaPerch teams have competed and placed in the SeaPerch National Challenge every year.

During the COVID-19 pandemic most students were engaged in some form of distance learning, and Taylor recognized the outreach program became more important, especially for teachers looking for stimulating ways to enhance their curriculum and engage students in meaningful and impactful ways. Taylor was able to utilize her IT skills to coordinate and conduct virtual “train the trainer” events as well as many one-on-one virtual sessions with local schools.

Mayport Coastal Sciences Middle School coach William Hudson, whose team won first place in the final, world-wide competition, said “As educators, we are always seeking moments of discovery from our students. The SeaPerch program and competition allowed us to witness these moments with regularity and we are extremely thankful for people like Crystal Taylor who devote their time and energy to our students.”

Taylor was also recognized for excellence in the Cyber Security domain when she was selected for a highly competitive position in the Navy Cyber Information Technology Exchange Program (CITEP). She was one of only seven nominees from across the Department of the Navy in 2019. CITEP provides a unique opportunity for the DoD and private sector organizations to share best practices, gain a better understanding of cross-sector information technology operations and challenges, and partner to address these challenges.

SERMC’s Commanding Officer, Capt. John Lobuono concluded, “Ms. Taylor’s selection as the “Technology All-Star” for the 2021 Women of Color STEM is a testament to Ms. Taylor’s dedication and commitment over the years to the community and to spark an interest for students to pursue a career in an engineering field.  Her selection for this prestigious national award drawing from academia, industry, new-media and corporate leadership is a positive reflection for the Department of Navy and an example of the department’s commitment in having a positive impact in communities around the nation.”

For more information about SERMC, visit http://www.navsea.navy.mil/Home/RMC/SERMC/