Sydney Barber is breaking barriers within the U.S. Naval Academy. After an extensive application process, the Illinois native has earned the role of brigade commander. She is the first Black woman to hold the school's top leadership position.
“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.
Barber is a mechanical engineering major and aspiring Marine Corps ground officer from Lake Forest, Illinois. She is the 16th woman to hold the position of brigade commander. She follows in the footsteps of Juliane Gallina, who became the first woman to hold the position in 1991.
“I am humbled to play a small role in this momentous season of American history," Barber explained.
Barber was congratulated by many from within the Naval Academy. Most notably, Janie Mines, the first Black woman to graduate from the academy, congratulated her online.
"This bought me to tears. This young woman, Midshipman Sydney Barber, will be the first Black Female Brigade Commander at the US Naval Academy. 40 years later. Thank you Sydney! Love you," she wrote on LinkedIn.
Barber will begin her tenure as brigade commander during the academy's spring semester. The position will run through the end of the academic year.
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