HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - NASA'S Marshall Space Flight Center has named Irma C. Burden director of the Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity. In the position, which she assumed April 1, she is responsible for managing, planning, directing and implementing a comprehensive equal opportunity program for the Marshall Center.
Burden comes to Marshall after a 31-year career with the Department of the Navy, during which she held a number of positions. Most recently, she served as command deputy for the Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity Officer for the Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, D.C., directing a program that included more than 55,000 employees in 37 field activities throughout the United States.
Burden's wide range of experience with equal employment matters also includes 12 years as deputy Equal Employment Officer at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Panama City, Fla.
"We are pleased and fortunate that Irma Burden will be bringing her wealth of experience advancing diversity and equal opportunity to our program," said Marshall Space Flight Center Director Patrick Scheuerman.
Throughout her career, Burden has promoted equal employment within the government. She expanded the Naval Surface Warfare Center's black employment program into the African American Leadership Council and, as the council's founding president, established an awards recognition program for African Americans in pioneering careers at the center. Burden also established a process for ensuring diversity in senior-level positions at the Naval Sea Systems Command.
Burden earned a master's degree in counseling and psychology from Troy University in Troy, Ala., and a bachelor's degree in human services from Alabama State University in Montgomery. She grew up in Salitpa, Ala., and is a graduate of Jackson High School in Jackson, Ala.
Burden has completed the U.S. Office of Personnel Management Executive Leadership Program, programs at the Brookings Institution, the Leadership Development Program at the University of Maryland, the Dale Carnegie Course and other leadership programs.
She is the author of a number of articles promoting equality of opportunity and the value of human service, and served on the 103rd Congressional Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee chaired by the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts. During that special assignment, Burden also supported a health care reform conference at Tufts University in Boston.
Burden received numerous awards for her Department of the Navy service, including the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award. She also received special recognition at the 14th Annual Women of Color Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, or STEM, Conference in 2009 for her support of STEM efforts.
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