Navy Cyber Security Division Director Rear Admiral BryerJoyner visits the Creative Coast during Navy Week

2022 marked the first year the Navy Week Program came to Savannah, Georgia since the start of the program in 2005. Over the course of seven days running from March 14th to March 20th, roughly 75 sailors from all over the United States spent time in Savannah sharing the values, mission, and vision of the Navy. Savannah is one of many stops for the program throughout the year. The purpose of Navy Week is so that locals in areas where there is little to no Navy presence, can learn more about what the Navy does and why it is important. The event, which is coordinated by the Navy Office of Community Outreach, is a way for the Navy to educate individuals, connect on a personal level with community members, and build support around the Navy.

During the course of the week, sailors get involved with community-focused programs by speaking at events, taking meetings with community and government leaders, volunteering with local non-profits, and participating in local activities. The Creative Coast was thrilled to host a meetup between Navy Rear Admiral Susan BryerJoyner and local STEM advocacy leaders to discuss current initiatives in Savannah to grow and encourage STEM education in neighborhoods throughout the city. 

Navy Rear Admiral BryerJoyner visits The Creative Coast

The women in STEM meetup allowed local STEM mentors to speak with Navy Rear Admiral BryerJoyner about the current climate of STEM education in Savannah as well as their respective goals to mentor young women interested in STEM careers. Clock-wise: Navy Rear Admiral Susan BryerJoyner, Meghan Holbrook, Lesli Ott, Ambria Berksteiner, Murem Sharpe, & Jen Bonnett. Photo: MC2 Ethan Carter

Rear Admiral BryerJoyner is the Navy Cyber Security Division Director for the Chief of Naval Operations. She received her commission in 1991 and has a Bachelor of Science in Materials Engineering from the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute as well as two master’s degrees in STEM fields: a Master of Science in Computer Science from the Naval Postgraduate School and a Master of Science in Government Information Leadership from the Information Resources Management College at National Defense University. Originally from Savannah, Georgia and a graduate of Herschel V Jenkins High School, she has a keen interest in STEM empowerment programs targeted toward young women in Savannah.

During her visit, Rear Admiral BryerJoyner spoke with five local women leading in STEM mentorship. Each of the women was able to share about the current climate of STEM education in Savannah and the work they are doing in STEM mentorship throughout the city including hosting STEM workshops and events and working one-on-one with young women interested in pursuing STEM careers. Attendees included…

  • Ambria Berksteiner, Industrial Engineer & Founder & Owner of Operation One STEM at a Time
  • Jen Bonnett, Former Technology Entrepreneur,  Founder of Startup Chicks, Executive Director of The Creative Coast, & Vice President of Innovation & Entrepreneurship at the Savannah Economic Development Authority
  • Meghan Holbrook, Electrical Engineer & representative of Savannah’s chapter of the Society of Women Engineers
  • Lesli Ott, Applied Economist, Data Scientist, & Full-stack Software Developer & Founder & CEO of Menther
  • Murem Sharpe, Partner of Revenue Growth at TechCXO & Vice President of The Creative Coast Board

Overall, the event offered not only an opportunity for Rear Admiral BryerJoyner to learn about the greater STEM education community in Savannah and areas of need, but also the chance to bring women in STEM education together to connect, share ideas, and potentially collaborate. 

To learn more about each of the attendees and their STEM initiatives, visit the links below.

Navy Rear Admiral Susan BryerJoyner

Ambria Berksteiner’s Operation One STEM at a Time

Jen Bonnett’s Startup Chicks & The Creative Coast youth programs

Meghan Holbrook’s work with the Society of Women Engineers and youth programs

Lesli Ott’s Menther

Murem Sharpe – The Creative Coast youth programs


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About Kait Lance

Kait has been writing for The Creative Coast since 2014. A self-proclaimed "startup hype-woman," she is passionate about storytelling that shines a light on new ideas, innovation, and entrepreneurial opportunities in the southeastern Georgia region.