DAHLGREN, Va. –
“Be persistent.” Sound advice from Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) Scientist Sheila Ali when asked to share guidance with anyone starting a career or finding their career path.
Ali is one of six NSWCDD employees to receive the 2021 Women of Color Technology Award. According to the award citation, Ali’s nomination as a Rising Star was due to “her skill, tenacity, and willingness to share and grow others through her software development work, which was instrumental in developing and testing database tools. Her accomplishments include creating solutions to control functionality for a simulator used to train U.S. Air Force crews flying aircraft that support Special Operations troops in ground engagements. Using her expertise, she adapted existing software to make it more flexible to the needs of the user community. She also serves as a ‘go to’ advisor, helping new employees assimilate and reach their full potential within the organization.”
Born in the South Asian country of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Ali was always interested in math and logic and was encouraged by family to pursue medicine. When she took her first programming class and wrote a calculating problem, she knew she had found her passion. She earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of North Texas and worked as a software developer in Dallas, Texas, for seven years.
Ali continued her education and earned a master’s degree from the University of Texas, and soon accepted an internship at NSWCDD. She currently works in the Battle Management System (BMS) program and loves every minute of it.
Humbled by the award, Ali said “I am absolutely honored to receive this award. It makes me feel recognized for my contributions and achievements. It gives me a sense of pride to be part of the BMS team.”
Officials of the 2021 Women of Color STEM Digital conference will recognize Ali and the other award winners Oct. 8 in a virtual technology recognition event.