Opportunities in Government

Opportunities in Government for Women in Technology
Friday, March 6
4:00 PM
Sassafras Room
Track: Technology Skills & Tools


The Naval Surface Warfare Center at Crane, Indiana is one of the Nation's most trusted resources to protect the homeland, defeat enemies, and defend our freedom. This session will focus on the many career opportunities which allow women in technology to excel while supporting our Nation.




Melinda Hendrix
Deputy Comptroller
Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Crane Division

Ms. Hendrix currently serving as deputy for the NSWC Crane Comptroller Department. She has served the Command well as the Corporate Operations Deputy for the past 5 years, where she has provided critical leadership of a 350-person Department responsible in the areas of Human Resources, Infrastructure, IT, Safety/Security, Business/Financial, and Property Management competencies. Her background includes more than 20 years of experience in the technical codes where she served as an engineer supporting MarineCorps ammunition and Command and Control projects, Pyrotechnics Development Munitions and C4I Systems. Ms Hendrix holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University, and a Master’s in Business Administration from Ball State University.

Dr. Alison Smith
Chief Engineer, Materials Science
NSWC Crane

Dr. Alison F. Smith is the Chief Engineer of Materials Analysis for Microelectronic Component Technologies at NSWC Crane. She is also a practicing Materials Scientist and Researcher with a focus on utilizing nanoscale engineering to support the Strategic Systems Programs of the United States. Dr. Smith has almost two decades-worth of R&D experience in materials analysis, microanalytical devices, and materials design. By collaborating with academia, she is able to provide the DoD enhanced capabilities for structural health monitoring, lifetime prediction and extension, and anti-counterfeit strategies through the design of various nanomaterial platforms. In 2018, she became thefirst alumna from the College of Science & Technology to be selected for the Distinguished Alumni Award by her alma mater, Southeastern Louisiana University, and is also the first DoD recipient of the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America. She also served as NSWC Crane’s first STEM Director, a role in which she forged regional partnerships to build and grow an award-winning K-12 STEM program for the region.

Ms. Chelsea Harrison
Systems Engineering Branch Manager
Strategic Systems Hardware Division
NSWC Crane

Ms. Chelsea Harrison currently serves as the Systems Engineering Branch Manager (GXWV) for the Strategic Systems Hardware Division at NSWC Crane. She supervises a team of technical leaders that produce hardware in support of strategic initiatives. Shestarted her career at NSWC Crane in 2014 as a Life Cycle Refresh Design Engineer. She transitioned to the Strategic System Programs Alteration Accomplishment Lead, leading documentation and coordination with the alteration accomplishing activity. She served as the Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) Pilot Working Group Lead and GXP Model-Based-Engineering Lead where she was tasked to implement Model-Based Systems Engineering initiatives on all projects. This led to her being the Principle Investigatorfor a research project to in develop a method to rapidly bring teams up to speed on MBSE. Chelsea received a Bachelor’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering with a Minor in Physics from Tennessee State University. She also received a Public Management Certification from IUPUI and is currently pursuing a Master’s of Science in Systems Engineering from Naval Postgraduate School.

Ms. Alicia Scott
Mathematics and Data Scientist
Specialty Systems Engineering Branch
NSWC Crane

Ms. Scott is serving as the lead Data Scientist, for the Strategic Mission Systems Engineering Division, at Naval Surface Warfare Center –Crane Division. She is responsible for the creation of the Data Analytics team, which is now comprised of 7 employees. The team works on research,data analysis, artificial intelligence, and organizational optimization for a variety of DoD customer sets. Ms. Scott’s team has established new efforts for the US Navy, US Air Force, US Army, and the US Marine Corps. Ms. Scott is leveraging her educational background in Theoretical Mathematics along with her work experience in computer programming and data analysis to expand her team’s portfolio and capability.

Ms. Vernell Thomas
Advanced Concepts Section Manager
NSWC Crane

Ms. Thomas has over 25 years of experience in project management, leadership, process improvement, change management, employee development and team building. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering from Tennessee State University and a Master Certificate in Project Management from George Washington University. Vernell currently manages a team of fifteen (15) scientists and engineers, focused on Science and Technology development.