By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Nathan Wilkes, U.S. Naval Academy Public Affairs
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (NNS) -- Officers and first class midshipmen came together Feb. 25 to celebrate the accomplishments of the graduating class during a professional luncheon at Buchanan House at the U.S. Naval Academy.
The event, hosted by the Naval Academy's Joy Bright Hancock Organization (JBHO), gives a unique opportunity for midshipmen to mingle with officers from around the Yard, reflect on their journey thus far and to learn more about the adventure that awaits them in the fleet.
"This event is essentially an opportunity for us to congratulate the women of the graduating class and welcome them to the officer community," said Lt. Erica Reid-Dixon, USNA officer representative for JBHO. "A wide variety of officers and supporters are also here today to offer the midshipmen any insight, advice and support that they may need before graduating and commissioning."
More than 100 midshipmen attended the luncheon this year, which highlights the beginning of a wide variety of events scheduled for Women's History Month in March.
"This is the ninth year that JBHO has hosted a First Class Women's Luncheon and I believe that it is one of our more impactful events during the year," said Midshipman 1st Class Hope Jones, president of JBHO. "We're about to hit the fleet in a few short months and this event provides us with an opportunity to network, meet female officers in our service community and to discuss what life is like as a female officer in the military."
For this year's Women's History Month, JBHO plans to work on building camaraderie between the female officers on the Yard and female midshipman as well as discuss the future of women's role in the military.
"Having camaraderie between the female officers on the Yard and the female midshipman is very important," said Midshipman 2nd Class Christina Lanier, vice president of JBHO. "At the Naval Academy, we have the advantage of having such a wealth of experience to pull from, and events like these give us an opportunity to reach out, connect, and make those last points of mentorship before graduation and commissioning."
The Joy Bright Hancock Organization began as the only women's organization at the U. S. Naval Academy, and has since expanded to engage in gender-neutral issues. Though its mission has adapted over time, it continues to bring female midshipmen together to discuss and address issues related to balancing personal and career choices.