Vannia Willis Hero

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NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (Oct. 17, 2016) – Huntington Ingalls Industries (NYSE: HII) announced today that 20 employees from the company’s Newport News and Ingalls shipbuilding divisions were recognized for achievements in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) during the 21st annual Women of Color STEM Conference.

Huntington Ingalls Industries was among the corporate sponsors that supported this year’s event, which was held Oct. 13-15 in Detroit.

Vannia Willis, an 18-year engineering veteran at Newport News, was presented a Community Service Award, which recognizes women of color who use technology in novel ways to improve access to STEM jobs and educational opportunities. Among her many activities to encourage youth participation in STEM, Willis helped start the first Lego Mind Storm Robotics Program in southeast Washington and developed a tutoring program for middle and high school students at a local church. She also organized a program that challenged students’ logic and strategic capabilities as part of Math, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA), and she serves as technology lead for First Robotics and Newport News’ Girls Engineer Minds in Shipbuilding (GEMS) program. She has also been lead coordinator for the Women of Color and BEYA K-12 STEM workshops since 2009.

Four HII employees received Technology All Star awards, which recognize accomplished women of color from mid-level to advanced stages of their careers who have demonstrated excellence in the workplace and in their communities. They are:


Vannia Willis Hero

Vannia Willis was presented a Community Service Award, which recognizes women of color who use technology in novel ways to improve access to STEM jobs and educational opportunities. HII photo

  • Paulette Harris, designer, Newport News

  • Samaria Hunter, computer systems security manager, Newport News

  • Mary McDermott, engineering manager, Newport News

  • Gwen Wilkerson, material requisitioning director, Ingalls

Fifteen HII employees received Technology Rising Star awards that recognize young women who are helping to shape future technology. They are:

  • Ambre Cauley, project manager, Ingalls

  • Ladrena Ford, financial analyst, Ingalls

  • Jimmie Gerrish, material handling supervisor, Ingalls

  • Travia Holder, software development analyst, Ingalls

  • Leah Kimble, procurement planning representative, Ingalls

  • Marie Lawson, electrical engineer, Newport News

  • Kristal Mayfield, material planner, Ingalls

  • Molly McLellan, industrial engineer, Ingalls

  • Donna Melton, production planning manager, Ingalls

  • Alexis Moore, financial analyst, Ingalls

  • Michelle Pope, electrical designer, Newport News

  • Shinaca Reed, hull foreman, Ingalls

  • Damayra Rosado-Amaro, project manager, Ingalls

  • Brenda Straight, administration generalist, Ingalls

  • Davida Warren, cyber security analyst, Newport News


About Huntington Ingalls Industries

Huntington Ingalls Industries is America’s largest military shipbuilding company and a provider of engineering, manufacturing and management services to the nuclear energy, oil and gas markets. For more than a century, HII’s Newport News and Ingalls shipbuilding divisions in Virginia and Mississippi have built more ships in more ship classes than any other U.S. naval shipbuilder. Headquartered in Newport News, Virginia, HII employs nearly 35,000 people operating both domestically and internationally. For more information, visit:

Danny Hernandez
Director of Public Affairs
(202) 580-9086
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