Allen is the deputy department head of the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Corona Division’s Performance Assessment Department, which serves as an independent analysis and assessment officer in several areas of warfare, including air defense, integrated air and missile defense , surface, strike and cyber . The department’s expertise is used in unit-level, multi-ship, and strike group compositions, ensuring everything runs smoothly and assisting in the high-level day-to-day operations that are critical to the success and the fighting capacity of the fighters.
Allen began her journey in the engineering field 16 years ago while living in her hometown of Cliffwood, NJ. She attended Rutgers University, where she said she had one of her proudest moments: earning a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering. Allen recalled this period of his life as a pivotal and defining moment on his path to success.
“It’s a very difficult degree to get,” Allen said. “When I was in school, engineering was a male-dominated field, and you didn’t see a lot of black people in my major either.”
Even so, Allen joined organizations at the university filled with other like-minded students who were thriving in engineering. Seeing other African Americans earning an engineering degree helped her achieve her goals and gave her a sense of community, she said.
“It gave me motivation, because if they could do it, I could do it,” she said. “I’m just grateful to this community and to the Dean, who helped me through the times when I wanted to give up.”
Fortunately, giving up wasn’t part of Allen’s plan. After graduating in 2003, she started her first job with a civil engineering company, broadening her skills and experiencing a different side of engineering than she was used to while graduating.
“Going from industrial engineering to civil engineering lessons was a bit strange,” she said. “But it was actually a good experience.”
After a year with the company, she transferred to the Ministry of Defense and began her journey working for the military at Picatinny Arsenal. In 2012, Allen had the opportunity to move to California, where she joined NSWC Corona, which provides analysis and assessments for the Navy, assesses its combat capability, and serves as a leader in NAVSEA data analysis. The command uses networked data environments, data, and visualization and measurement technologies to bridge Navy data silos, enabling informed decision-making for the warfighter.
Cherell Ward-Rucker, systems analyst for the Readiness Acquisition and Assessment department, thanked Allen for maintaining a positive work atmosphere and helping her branch meet its 2019-2021 goals, when Allen l managed.
“She always motivates people around her,” Ward-Rucker said. “Every time I told her I was going to do something, she tried to help me make it happen. Her encouragement made me feel like I could accomplish anything.
Allen’s positive attitude developed early in life. She said she was lucky to grow up in a positive home that taught her the importance of having others in her corner. She credits her parents for teaching her what a strong support system looks like and credits them for making her the successful person she is today.
“I was lucky to grow up in a two-parent home,” Allen said. “They always supported me. Everything I ever wanted to do, everything I ever wanted to try. They believed in me and pushed me full steam ahead.
Allen said his grandfather, a civil rights activist and Roselle, NJ’s first black police officer, also had a huge impact on his upbringing.
“He was always out there advocating for the rights of African Americans,” she said. “He always said to me, ‘If anyone can do it, it’s Joy!’ That someone as accomplished as him believed in me made all the difference.
When Allen was not with her family, she spent most of her time involved in her community and attending religious events.
“Where I grew up, all the neighbors knew each other, so I had a really strong support system outside of my home,” Allen said. “Growing up in the church also helped me to train myself.”
The church gave her spiritual insight which she said she practices to this day in her ministries. She hosts a weekly Bible study group for women, where she guides women on how to handle life’s problems based on what she learned during her church studies growing up.
With all the encouragement Allen has received, she said her goal now is to inspire others as much as she has been inspired. She believes highlighting her accomplishments is a great way to remind people where they started.
“When we read people’s success stories, whether they’re in sports, media, engineering, science or whatever, there’s usually a back story,” she said. “Knowing these back stories keeps us humbled and makes us feel like we too can be successful.
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 the opportunity to teach our children differently and improve humanity.”
With Allen’s love for leadership and her commitment to public service, she plans to continue her work in women’s Bible study and eventually enter the Senior Executive Service, where she could help lead the workforce. American work. Never forgetting her roots, she 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 celebrating accomplishments and to edify others, whatever their race.
“I believe Black History Month shines a light on how we’ve 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 to have the opportunity to work in a leadership role for our Navy.”