SEC-Lee engineer receives 2013 'Civilian Hero' award
November 1, 2013
FORT LEE, Va. (Oct. 31, 2013) -- A Fort Lee engineer has received a prestigious national award for her accomplishments in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, or STEM.
Maria D. Melendez, a network engineer with the Communications-Electronics Command Software Engineering Center-Lee Tactical Logistics Directorate, was among six individuals who were recognized as 2013 Military and Civilian Heroes during the annual Great Minds in STEM Hispanic Engineering National Achievement Awards Corporation, or HENAAC, conference, Oct. 3-5, at the Hyatt Regency in New Orleans.
Melendez -- who hails from Cayey, Puerto Rico, and holds a master's degree in computer science -- supports the development, testing, deployment and hosting of Army and Department of Defense Logistics and Business Information Systems that support Soldiers in every aspect of their daily lives.
"We are all so proud of Maria," said Ricky Daniels, SEC-Lee TLD director. "She serves as an example to all Department of the Army Civilians and epitomizes the attributes of a truly dedicated and caring person."
Daniels also noted that Melendez has dedicated much of her free time to volunteer work in the local community. Highlights include her years of support to the Office of Multicultural Affairs at the University of Richmond, where she judged submissions from the eCybermission Science, Math and Technology program for junior students, and served on the review committee for the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities. She served as a bilingual greeter and tax preparer with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program as well.
Melendez said she is grateful for the award. "It is such an honor and privilege to be recognized as a 2013 STEM Military and Civilian Hero," she said. "This moment marks a very important time for me in my professional career as a computer engineer.
"As a child, my parents and family instilled a sense of perseverance in me," she continued. "I learned that in order to achieve your dreams, you must always believe in yourself (and) always give 100 percent in accomplishing tasks. (I will) never forget the values I was raised with.
"I remember this most during challenging times when I have been forced to dig deep and have my personal and professional values tested. Such experiences facilitate human growth, where adjustments to original plans have been made, but (I have) always stayed focused on achieving success.
"I would like to thank the U.S. Army, the (CECOM SEC-Lee) Technical Operations Branch, coworkers, friends, family and God for this recognition. Please continue to support and embrace our Hispanic community. I leave you with the following quote by Walt Disney -- 'All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.' Exito Siempre!"