The U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker honored women in military and civilian fields during the Women's History Month Celebration/Women of the Year Ceremony 28 March.

Col. Dana K. Renta, commander of the U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory, was the celebration's keynote speaker.

In honor of this year's theme, "Women Inspiring Innovations through Imagination: Celebrating Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics," Renta gave several examples of the progress women have made in STEM-related fields throughout history. She mentioned Miranda Stewart, a surgeon, Sophie Germain, a mathematician, and Madame Marie Curie, a chemist who won the Nobel Prize in 1903 and 1911.

Renta also acknowledged USAARL's female scientists and engineers for their great work and many accomplishments.

"This premier group works in areas that include blast characterization, hearing protection, medical airworthiness, and research regulatory compliance," said Renta. "And I'm very proud of our local Gains in Education of Mathematics and Science program that in just two years has inspired over 150, 5th-8th graders to become life-long learners and potential STEM professionals."

"STEM education is important to our Nation's future," she said. "It lies in our ability to mobilize our youth and develop their academic and technical skills to improve not only their lives, but also improve our Nation's economy while maintaining a robust security to protect our citizens."

Renta invited parents to teach their children to reach for the stars by engaging them in challenging activities.

"Children should not be afraid to make mistakes," said Renta. "They should consider struggles as hurtles that must be jumped."