WSIG Town Hall with Craig Washington, VP of Engagement & Communication USNA Alumni Association

Craig Washington, Vice President for Engagement at the Alumni Association will be participating in our next Town Hall meeting on 10 June, Thursday at 1900 EDT.  Craig will be presenting on the new Alumni Center, showing the various capabilities of the Center, the surrounding grounds, and discuss “Naming Opportunities” available.  This is the first look inside the center, and the plans for this multi-functional building.


April 2021 Town Hall: Work-Life Balance

Please join the USNA Alumni Association Women’s Shared Interest Group Thursday, April 22 to learn and talk about challenges, solutions, and tips for “Work-Life Balance.”

Jill Richards (USNA ’94) – a Doctor of Acupuncture, business owner, Navy Commander with the Office of Naval Research, wife, and mother – will share some practical tips about caring for oneself when balancing all of the other responsibilities each of us face. Then, we’ll have a chance in small groups to share and discuss our hard-won wisdom about work-life balance struggles or solutions while getting to know your fellow SIG members a little better.

Please register in advance by CLICKING HERE.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. Registration is limited to the first 100 people so please sign up soon.

We hope to see you there.

WSIG Book Club: “Black Wings” by Kathleen Toomey Jabs ’88

We will be joined by the author! In this gripping and suspenseful book, Lt. Bridget Donovan undertakes her own investigation into the death of her former roommate in a training exercise where she uncovers an organized campaign of harassment that sabotages reputations and careers.
Book available at Fuze Publishing or on Amazon.   
Please register in advance for this meeting and remember to add the Zoom link to your calendar after registration!
Please email with your questions/comments before the book club date.
If you want to watch via Facebook instead of being on the Zoom meeting, you must be a member of the Women’s SIG Facebook page and you can stream it here: USNA Women’s SIG
Please forward this email to any USNA women’s class list, USNA team women’s group, or individual alumna who is eligible and could be interested!
– Kendra (Herber) Chappell ’94 (temporarily helping out Jennifer (Hogen) Johnson ’97)
Your purchases & donations will help
1)  Fund the Sisterhood of Mother B Waypoint Podcasts
2)  Fund resources for the Fireside Chats and Book Club events
3)  Provide scholarships to young ladies who will attend the Naval Academy Summer Seminar or STEM camps
4)  Meet other needs of the Women’s SIG
Find books about the Academy and books by grads at:

STEM Fireside Chat with astronauts Nicole Mann ’99 and Kayla Barron ’10

The Women’s SIG STEM Fireside Chat series is proud to announce astronauts Nicole Mann ’99 and Kayla Barron ’10 as our featured guests for Thursday, May 13, 2021 @ 1600 PDT (1900 EDT). Former astronaut Wendy Lawrence ’81 will be our moderator.

Kayla Barron, Nicole Mann

LtCol Nicole Aunapu Mann ’99 USMC was selected by NASA in June 2013. She is currently training for the crew flight test of Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft, the first experimental flight test for that spacecraft. Mann and her crewmates are working closely with Boeing to develop their new spacecraft systems, which will provide roundtrip crew transportation services to the International Space Station and, along with SpaceX’s CrewDragon, return the ability to launch humans into space from United States soil. The California native holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering. Mann served as a test pilot in the F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet and deployed twice aboard aircraft carriers in support of combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Read more about Nicole here:

LCDR Kayla Barron ’10 USN was selected by NASA to join the 2017 Astronaut Candidate Class. She reported for duty in August 2017 and having completed the initial astronaut candidate training is now eligible for a mission assignment. The Washington native graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with a bachelor’s degree in Systems Engineering. A Gates Cambridge Scholar, Barron earned a master’s degree in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Cambridge. As a Submarine Warfare Officer, Barron was a member of the first class of women commissioned into the submarine community. Read more about Kayla here:

CAPT Wendy Lawrence ’81 USN ret, our first alumna to receive the Distinguished Graduate Award, will moderate this session.  A member of only the second class in Naval Academy history to include women,  Wendy was the daughter and granddaughter of Naval Academy graduates and spent much of her childhood without her father, a prisoner of war in Vietnam who later became the Academy’s 49th Superintendent and a Distinguished Graduate himself. She went on to rank 12th in her graduating class, became instrumental in forming the women’s crew team, served as deputy Brigade Commander and earned one of just five naval aviator billets available to women in her class. Wendy was a member of four shuttle missions including time on the International Space Station.  Read more about Wendy here:—dga19-bio-lawrence


USNA Women’s SIG STEM Fireside Chat: Entrepreneurial Spirit

Join the Women’s SIG Fireside Chat on Thursday, March 11th, 2021 1600 Pacific time/1900 Eastern time to chat about the Entrepreneurial Spirit.  Register HERE

Our guest Entrepreneurs are:

Catheryne Nicholson

Catheryne Nicholson ’90 is CEO and Co-founder of BlockCypher, a Blockchain Web Services company she founded in 2013. BlockCypher’s blockchain-agnostic infrastructure exposes simple web APIs for software developers to easily build reliable cryptocurrency applications. BlockCypher runs multiple open and private blockchains at-scale on their same infrastructure.

Catheryne is an engineer, entrepreneur, mother, and former U.S. Naval Officer. She is a vocal advocate for military women’s rights and girls in STEM. Catheryne has built large-scale software platforms for companies such as, Siebel Systems, and Northrop-Grumman. She has worked with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and serves on Congresswoman Jackie Speier’s U.S. Naval Academy board. Catheryne graduated from the U.S Naval Academy and Stanford University and holds a BS in Aerospace Engineering, a MS in Environmental Engineering, a MBA, and is a registered PE in Mechanical Engineering. Catheryne and BlockCypher have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Business Insider, Wired, New York Times, and Fortune Magazine.  Website:

Heidi. Gerding ’83 co-founded HeiTech Services, Inc. in October 1999 with longtime business partner Jim Clement. HeiTech Services was founded to provide management consulting and information technology services to the Federal Government. She began the business to ensure that promises made to customers were honored. Her business acumen is founded around the Naval Academy’s Honor Concept which, simply stated, is: “Midshipmen will not lie, cheat, or steal.” She believes that services delivered with this concept in mind, will always result in success.

Heidi Gerding is an entrepreneur, accomplished business leader, advocate of veteran and small business enterprise — and a mother of four. Her dedication and commitment to her work and her family is evident in the manner with which she provides exceptional customer service to her clients while nurturing the professional and personal needs of her employees. These qualities, combined with her knowledge, skills and abilities, have proved to be a successful combination and enable Ms. Gerding to succeed as a woman, a Naval Officer, and business owner.

Our moderator is Gerrie Santos ’83.

Gerrie Santos

Gerrie holds a BS in Systems Engineering.  On active duty, she served five years as a Contracting Officer and Staff Civil Engineer in the Civil Engineer Corps.

After she left the Navy, Gerrie spent 13 years managing theme park design and construction projects for Walt Disney Imagineering and NBCUniversal.  She is especially proud of her roles in The Muppet Attraction (Disney) and Universal’s Islands of Adventure park.

Subsequently, she pivoted into a Risk Management role at Universal and continued on that path.  In 2004, Gerrie joined Parsons Corporation where she was the Vice President of Corporate Risk Management.  In her role, Gerrie was responsible for the worldwide insurance and surety bond programs of the Corporation.  In 2016, Gerrie re-joined NBCUniversal and is a Senior Project Director for the Universal Beijing Resort Project.  She returned to Risk Management in 2018 for a short stint as the VP, Risk Management at the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians.  She is currently evaluating options on next steps.

Gerrie holds a BS in Systems Engineering from USNA and an MBA from Crummer Business School, Rollins College. She has a son, Alex Pax, who works in Dallas as an Insurance Actuary. She also has two rescue greyhounds that are her constant companions in Florida.