Master Sgt. Samantha Weatherspoon, the senior noncommissioned officer for contracting at Army Contracting Command-Rock Island, Ill., says she's friendlier than she looks.

"As I get reassigned and moved to new places, I guess I have a demeanor that some people think looks mean, but no one tells me until after they get to know me," said Weatherspoon. "After they get to know me, they tell me that they are surprised I'm so nice. So, I guess I don't look as friendly as I actually am. Lately, I am making a point to smile a lot more."

Weatherspoon is in her third year of contracting, and has been assigned to ACC-RI since November. This is her first time serving as senior NCO, which she said mainly entails taking care of the Soldiers assigned to ACC-RI from advising and mentoring to determining rotations and training.

She said she likes the position because she is learning a lot, it is fast-paced, and she gets to see the results of her work on a daily basis.

"There are a lot of things that I didn't know about human resources, because I never had to worry about it," said Weatherspoon. "After serving in this position, I've really come to appreciate the people who do human resources, and I really enjoy seeing others' satisfaction with the work that we do."

The senior contracting NCO position has always been on the ACC-RI Table of Distribution and Allowances, but wasn't filled until recently. Weatherspoon was assigned the position because ACC-RI is in the process of standing up the 920th Contingency Contracting Battalion, and a military person was needed to help this transition go smoothly.

"I'll do everything I can to make sure that the 920th battalion and the four contingency contracting teams that stand up have the support they need until they get their entire battalion staff online," said Weatherspoon.

Originally from Houston, Texas, Weatherspoon has been in the Army for 14 years. She started her career as a unit supply specialist at Fort Hood, Texas, and has been stationed at bases all over the world before landing at Rock Island Arsenal.

"After Fort Hood, I was stationed at Vilseck, Germany; Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo; Iraq; Fort Benning, Ga.; Camp Hovey, Korea; Fort Carson, Colo., where I deployed to Afghanistan; and then to Sacramento, Calif., where I was assigned to my first contracting job at the Corps of Engineers," she said.

Weatherspoon said her favorite assignment was Germany, though she didn't realize it was her favorite at the time.

"There was so much to do," said Weatherspoon. "The community is so close knit because there is no family, so all you have is the military."

While stationed in Germany, one of her favorite things to do was to go shopping, especially in the Czech Republic's flea markets.

"The base where I was stationed was only 45 minutes away from the border, so we would drive there on weekends and go shopping for crystal," she said. "Poland was the best place to go for pottery."

Her love of shopping continues to this day as she and her 12-year-old daughter, Alexandria, -- who she calls her "little battle buddy" -- are always searching for great deals. They also love skating, bowling and going to the movies.

Besides caring for and having fun with her daughter, Weatherspoon said she spends the bulk of her time finishing her degree in management studies with a minor in business law and public policy through the University of Maryland.

She has been diligently plugging away at the degree through reassignments and deployments and said that she should be finished this summer. This fall, she hopes to start her master's degree in management and leadership.

"I will have a little bit of a break between classes and I hope to take Alex up to Minnesota to the Mall of America," said Weatherspoon. "I always wanted to go, and now that we're close enough that we can drive, I really want to get up there."