NATICK, Mass. (Jan. 10, 2012) -- An NCO from the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine became a second lieutenant in a commissioning ceremony Jan. 9 at Natick Soldier Systems Center.

Sergeant Jessica Morley, who has done medical research in USARIEM's Thermal and Mountain Medicine Division for the past 3 ½ years, had been an NCO for a little more than a year. Morley joined the Army on July 6, 2007.

"Wow, it looks so shiny," Morley said jokingly after receiving her new rank. "This is going to take a little bit of getting used to."

Morley now moves on to the Basic Officer Leadership Course. She will then spend seven months at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, before being assigned to the Brigade Support Medical Company, 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, at Fort Riley, Kan.

"This is a wonderful moment," said Sgt. 1st Class Raymond Persaud, USARIEM first sergeant. "It's very important to see a Soldier of this caliber move up in the world and in the military, because we know they're going to go out there and do great things for us."

Captain John Lavoie, USARIEM detachment commander, noted that Morley was one of only 12 Soldiers chosen in October from 83 considered by the board.

"It was an incredible accomplishment," Lavoie said. "She's going to go on and do great things. She's going to be really in direct support of the Soldiers that are in the war fight now."

Morley, who received the Army Commendation Medal before the commissioning ceremony, had served as president of Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers at Natick.

"From my years in the military, personally, this is the best BOSS program I have ever seen," Persaud said. "It takes dedication. It takes work. It takes a lot of your personal time."

Colonel Gaston Bathalon, USARIEM commander, administered the oath to Morley.

"We're all here to wish you well," Bathalon told Morley. "There are people with drive, and it becomes very obvious."

Morley graduated from Bemidji (Minn.) State University in 2001 with a bachelor of science degree in Environmental Science. She also did graduate work at Bemidji State and at the University of California-Riverside.

After making her mark as an enlisted Soldier at Natick, Morley is off to explore the next phase of her Army career.

"All I can say is, thank you to everybody that taught me the lessons I needed to learn to get where I am now," Morley said. "I couldn't have gotten here without everybody's support. I'm going to miss you guys."