Midshipman 1st Class Sydney Barber will be the first Black woman to serve as a brigade commander at the U.S. Naval Academy, officials announced on Monday.
Barber will hold the highest leadership position within the brigade for the spring semester, the 16th woman to hold the position since women were allowed to attend the Naval Academy beginning in 1976. The first female brigade commander was then-Midshipman 1st Class Juliane Gallina in 1992.
“Earning the title of brigade commander speaks volumes, but the title itself is not nearly as significant as the opportunity it brings to lead a team in doing something I believe will be truly special,” Barber said in a statement. “I am humbled to play a small role in this momentous season of American history.”
Barber, of Lake Forest, Illinois, is studying mechanical engineering and hopes to become a Marine Corps ground officer, officials said. She created a STEM mentorship program for young girls of colour and organized a networking breakfast to connect current Black midshipmen with alumni.
In a video, Barber said women like Janie Mines, the first Black woman to graduate from the Naval Academy, motivated her to “follow her footsteps and be her wildest dream.”
Janie Mines, who became the first Black woman to graduate from the Naval Academy in 1980, reacted to the news on social media. “This brought me to tears. This young woman, Midshipman Sydney Barber, will be the first Black Female Brigade Commander at the U.S. Naval Academy. 40 years later. Thank you, Sydney! Love you!”
Congratulations to Sydney Barber on her groundbreaking achievement. A queen we stan.
This article was culled from USA Today