Joy Allen’s Commitment to Excellence > United States Navy > News-Stories
Allen is Deputy Division Chief of the Corona Division’s Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Performance Evaluation Branch, which serves as an independent analysis and evaluation agent in multiple war zones, including air defense, integrated air and missile defense, surface, strike and cyber. The department’s expertise is leveraged across unit levels, multiships and task forces, ensuring that everything runs smoothly and assisting with day-to-day high-level operations critical to warfighter success and combat capability.
Allen began her engineering career 16 years ago while living in her hometown of Cliffwood, New Jersey. She attended Rutgers University, where she says she witnessed one of her proudest moments: earning her bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering. Allen remembered this period in her life as a pivotal and pivotal moment in her journey to success.
“It’s very hard to get a degree,” Allen said. “When I was in school, engineering was a male domain, and you didn’t see many black people in my major either.”
Despite this, Allen joined organizations at the university that were filled with other students who looked like her and who were doing well in engineering. Seeing other African Americans earning their engineering degrees helped her further her goals and gave her a sense of community, she said.
“That motivated me because if they can do it, I can do it,” she said. “I’m just grateful for this community and for the dean who helped me assert myself at times when I wanted to give up.”
Thankfully, giving up wasn’t part of Allen’s plan. After graduating in 2003, she got her first job at a civil engineering firm, expanding her skills and experiencing a different side of engineering than she was used to during her college days.
“The switch from teaching industrial engineering to civil engineering was a bit strange,” she said. “But it was actually a good experience.”
After a year with the company, she transferred to the Department of Defense and began her Army journey at the Picatinny Arsenal. In 2012, Allen was given the opportunity to relocate to California where she joined NSWC Corona, which provides analysis and assessments for the Navy, assesses its combat capabilities and is a leader in NAVSEA data analysis. The command uses networked data environments, data and visualization, and measurement technology to bridge the Navy’s data silos and enable the war fighter to make informed decisions.
Cherell Ward-Rucker, systems analyst for the Acquisition and Readiness Assessment department, credited Allen with maintaining a positive work atmosphere and helping her office meet its goals from 2019 through 2021 when Allen led her.
“She’s always motivating those around her,” Ward-Rucker said. “Every time I told her I would do something, she tried to help make it happen. Their encouragement made me feel like I could achieve anything.”
Allen’s positivity developed early in life. She said she was fortunate to grow up in a positive household, which taught her the importance of having others on your side. She thanks her parents for teaching her what a strong support system looks like and gives them credit for shaping her into the successful person she is today.
“I was blessed to grow up in a two-parent home,” Allen said. “You have always supported me. Everything I ever wanted to do, everything I ever wanted to try. They believed in me and pushed me to the limit.”
Allen said her grandfather, a civil rights activist and the first black police officer in Roselle, NJ, was also a big influence on her upbringing.
“He was always out there fighting for African American rights,” she said. “He always said to me, ‘If anyone can do it, Joy can do it!’ Having someone as accomplished as him believe in me made all the difference.”
When Allen was away from her family, she spent most of her time in her community and attending church functions.
“Where I grew up, all the neighbors knew each other, so I had a very strong support system outside of my home,” Allen said. “Growing up in the church also shaped me.”
Church gave her spiritual insights that she says she continues to practice in her ministry to this day. She moderates a weekly Bible study group for women, where she guides women on how to deal with life challenges based on what she learned through her childhood church studies.
With all the encouragement Allen has received, she said her focus now is on inspiring others as much as she was inspired. She believes that highlighting one’s accomplishments is a great way to remind people where they started.
“When we read about people’s success stories, whether it’s in sports, the media, engineering, science or anything else, there’s usually a backstory,” she said. “Knowing these backstories keeps us humbled and makes us feel like we can succeed.”
Allen said she believes Black History Month is a perfect opportunity to shape the next generation and educate ourselves and others that black history is American history.
“Racism and bigotry still exist,” she said. “But we have an opportunity to teach our children differently and improve humanity.”
With Allen’s love of leadership and dedication to public service, she plans to continue her work in the Women’s Bible Study and eventually enter Senior Executive Service, where she will be able to lead the American workforce. She never forgets her roots and hopes that bringing her culture and expertise to other departments will continue to help spread diversity and inclusion and remind people of the importance of highlighting achievements and building others, regardless of theirs Race.
“I believe that Black History Month sheds light on how we have contributed to society and it really dispels a lot of the myths and stereotypes that people have been led to believe,” Allen said. “I am grateful for the opportunity to serve in a leadership role for our Navy.”