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NEWS | June 15, 2022

NSWC Dahlgren Division Recognizes Kelly Morgan with Distinguished Community Service Award

By NSWCDD Corporate Communications

Kelly Morgan, a Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) scientist, will receive the NSWCDD Distinguished Community Service Award for her outstanding dedication and service to the Dahlgren School. A Fairfax native, Morgan began her career at NSWCDD after submitting her resume to a base representative at a University of Mary Washington job fair. “I didn’t even think I would be doing computer science, let alone on the Dahlgren Naval Base,” stated Morgan. “Working for the Navy, supporting the warfighter and actually feeling like I’m making a tangible difference in our country was a really exciting opportunity for me.”

Early in her career at NSWCDD, Morgan was approached about starting a coding club for the elementary school. As someone who did not begin her computer coding background until late in her college years, Morgan wanted to give the children an early look into the STEM field. “It is wonderful because I can watch them as they start to understand and as they ask questions,” she said. “I explain something and to watch it click in their heads and seeing them make those connections is so special.”

The coding club is open to fourth grade through middle school students, but they also had a second-grade student participate. “That’s what I find so important. Making sure we continue to diversify STEM fields,” said Morgan. “Different perspectives are vital to new solutions and I hope to play a part in making sure that the diversification happens.”

When asked what is next for the program, Morgan has big hopes for the future. “We are really trying to expand into the middle and high school ages as well, so we are still going to continue the Dahlgren school coding club, but also try to set up a high school club in the area schools. I’m really excited about the opportunities to come.”

According to Morgan, receiving the award is both a surprise and an honor. “Getting nominated and then winning has made me realize how important this is. There are times where I feel like it is a lot of work but I keep going,” she said. “Seeing the kids, how excited they are and how much they’ve learned, I am very glad I continued down this path and didn’t pull away from the STEM program.”

Morgan is one of seven NSWC Dahlgren Division employees receiving the Distinguished Community Service Award at the 2021 Honorary Awards Ceremony on June 17.