Written by Petty Officer 2nd Class Loumania Stewart
For many of us, work is only a means to an end, a way to earn money to pay for the more important things in life. For others, though, it becomes more.
That is the case for two Coast Guard women: Petty Officer 1st Class Angel Leott, assistant engineering officer assigned to Coast Guard Maritime Safety and Security Team (MSST) Boston; and Debra Owens, the 8th Coast Guard District Spectrum Manager at Coast Guard Base New Orleans.
They were selected for the Technology Rising Star Award, which is granted to individuals who help shape technology for the future, during the 22nd Women of Color Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Conference. The conference was held Oct. 7, 2017, in Detroit, Michigan.
Both honorees emphasized they were only doing their jobs and didn’t feel deserving of special recognition.
“You may think your job is insignificant, but it goes to show you that people are paying attention to what you are doing, especially if you are doing your job right,” said Owens. “I felt like I was just doing my job. I was humbled and surprised to be selected for this certificate of achievement.”
“What I found most amazing about the conference was the time and effort people put in to build up females in roles of engineering and recognize them for their work,” said Leott. “That motivates them to continue their work and further mentor other women coming through the ranks.”
Owens was recognized for performing her duties in an exemplary manner, demonstrating superior performance and high levels of competence. She is responsible for planning, coordinating and managing joint use of the electromagnetic spectrum, the range of wavelengths of frequencies over which electromagnetic radiation extends, through operational, engineering and administrative procedures for more than 200 Coast Guard afloat and ashore units across 26 states.
Leott was recognized for being an invaluable member of the unit’s engineering department through her leadership, initiative and judgment. She serves as an assistant engineering petty officer to the MSST and manages up to 40 personnel and 38 assets. She is responsible for the proper care and maintenance of all engineering equipment – equipment that allows Coast Guard crews to safely carry out their mission. Leott was also previously selected as United Service Organization Coast Guardsman of the Year in 2015 for troubleshooting and repairing several Nigerian vessels during her deployment in support of the U.S. Africa Command mission.
Leott and Owens may have felt they were just doing their jobs. To others, though, they saw their ongoing excellence, commitment and devotion to duty as serving a higher purpose – helping the Coast Guard succeed – which is what has made them rising stars among their peers.