By: Rebekah Edmondson

I am grateful to have received a School of Humanities and Social Sciences’ travel award, making it possible for me to attend a conference in Norfolk, VA, held by the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance (NATO) in honor of International Women’s Day. The theme of the event was “Innovation thru Inclusion” and the discussions were based on NATO operations throughout the world and how they are being transformed by the diligent efforts to integrate women into all facets of the workforce. This event was a great opportunity for me to learn about the current projects that are being developed and because of my former career in the US armed forces, it was great to step back into an environment of which I was once a part of. After having decided to hang up my uniform to pursue other career goals, it was rewarding to find that my past experiences has helped to shape the current and future outcomes for women in the military throughout the world.

Panalists at “Innovation Thru Inclusion”
Photo credit: dvidshub.net

The keynote speakers were some of the most impressive women I have met in my life, which included Luitenant General Chris Whitecross, a highly decorated Canadian Army General, and Dr. Christine Darden, one of the first female NASA engineers. Hearing them speak on their experiences throughout their careers was inspirational and they provided over an hour of Q & A to the audience for the many questions people had for them. It was motivating to see several men also in attendance at an event in honor of International Women’s Day. Overall, the experience was very informative and inspiring and I am grateful to have received the support to attend.

Rebekah Edmondson is a senior majoring in sociology at the College. 

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