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DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE: National Hispanic Heritage Month - 2013

National Hispanic Heritage Month - 2013

"Hispanic Americans represent an array of distinct and vibrant cultures, each of which enriches communities in valuable ways. Just as America embraces a rich blend of backgrounds, those who journey to our shores embrace America."

- President Barack Obama

Top Stories

US Naval Academy Celebrates Hispanic American Heritage

The U.S. Naval Academy kicked off Hispanic Heritage Month Sept. 20 with a cultural and historical presentation in Bancroft Hall. Story

Latinos' Spirit of Community, Hard Work Help Make America Great, Author Says

Juana Bordas' first memory is sitting in the hull of a banana boat with her mother and six siblings as they prepared to leave Nicaragua for the United States. Her father and oldest sister had gone before them to forge what Bordas' parents hoped would be a better life. Story

GW Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month at Sea

Sailors aboard the U.S. Navy's forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept. 25. Story

Commentary: Colonel Reflects on Hispanic Heritage Month

In this commentary, a garrison commander reflects on his Mexican-American heritage and shares the pride in his Latino roots as we celebrate the invaluable contributions Hispanics have made to our nation. Story

Concert kicks off Army's Hispanic Heritage Month Observance

Undersecretary of the Army Joseph W. Westphal said the different cultures and ethnic backgrounds are what make the United States great, during the Army's Hispanic Heritage Month kickoff concert which featured "Son Tropical," the Army Field Band's ensemble that specializes in Latin rhythms. Story

Senior Airman Crosses Borders to Serve

For Senior Airman Yesenia Camacho-Arce, a nondestructive inspection specialist with 4th Equipment Maintenance Squadron, the support of her family has encouraged her to reach her goals and dreams. She credits her Hispanic heritage for her driving need to succeed. Story

Airman Embraces Diversity During Hispanic Heritage Month

As a young man who grew up on the island of Puerto Rico, AvilesFigueroa embraces the values that made him the airman he is today. Story

Navy Honors Service, Leadership During 2013 Hispanic American Heritage Month

The Navy joins the nation Sept. 15 in celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, which will be observed until Oct. 15. Story

4th BCT discusses importance of Hispanic Heritage Month

From Sunday until Oct. 15, our Nation will observe Hispanic Heritage Month. This observance provides the Currahees an opportunity to discuss the contributions Hispanic-Americans have been making within the U.S. Army since the Revolutionary War. Story

Army Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month; Heroism Highlighted

Our country thrives on the diversity and ingenuity of all our people. Our Army also thrives from this very same fabric of diversity found in our nation. Throughout the year, we join our nation in celebrating this diverse fabric that makes us so great. Story

Official: DOD Readiness Depends on Workforce Diversity

The Defense Department's commitment to equity and inclusion is rooted in the belief that diversity is a readiness imperative that gives a strategic advantage, a senior DOD official said recently during the 10th annual National Latina Style symposium. Story

Heritage Month Offers Chance to Explore Hispanic History

Hispanic Heritage Month, which began Sept. 15, marks a time to showcase the many contributions Hispanic Americans have made to the Defense Department, the Deputy Director of DOD's Office of Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity said. Story

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Profiles

Army Civilian, Rickey Peer

Profile photo: Army Civilian, Rickey Peer.

Rickey Peer has served as the Chief of the Ammo Depot Automation Project Management Office at the US Army Joint Munitions Command since ... Profile

Army Civilian, Jeffrey Cruz

Profile photo: Army Civilian, Jeffrey Cruz.

Jeff Cruz is currently Chief of the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Systems Analysis and Reporting Division, he is the Army Materiel ... Profile

Air Force Civilian, Bree Pelham

Profile photo: Air Force Civilian, Bree Pelham.

Bree L. Pelham is a Civil Engineer working for the 47th Civil Engineer Squadron as a Project Manager at Laughlin Air Force Base ... Profile

Coast Guard Civilian, Katiuska Pabón

Profile photo: Coast Guard Civilian, Katiuska Pabón.

A native of San Juan Puerto Rico, Katiuska Pabón is currently serving as a civilian Port Security Specialist at CG Sector Miami and ... Profile

US Army Major, Roman Ortega Jr.

Profile photo: US Army Major, Roman Ortega Jr.

Major Roman Ortega is a native of Plainfield, IL and graduated from Plainfield High School in 1999. He graduated from Northern Illinois University ... Profile

Undersecretary of the Army,
Honorable Joseph H. Westphal

Profile photo: Undersecretary of the United States Army, Honorable Joseph W. Westphal

Dr. Joseph W. Westphal currently serves as the 30th Undersecretary of the Army and the Army's first Chief Management Officer (CMO). He has ... Profile

Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Honorable Juan M. Garcia, III

Profile photo: Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Honorable Juan M. Garcia, III

Juan M. Garcia, III was confirmed as the assistant secretary of the Navy (Manpower and Reserve Affairs) on Sept. 16, 2009. In this capacity ... Profile

Army Civilian, Marie Salinas

Profile photo: Army Civilian, Marie Salinas

Marie Salinas serves as the Logistics lead in the Operations Branch of the Army's Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Project Office. Profile

United States Navy, Commander Margaret R. Larrea

United States Navy, Commander Margaret R. Larrea

Commander Meg Larrea currently serves as the Executive Officer for Defense Service Office Southeast. Profile

U.S. Coast Guard, Chief Petty Officer Megan C. Sesma

Profile photo: U.S. Coast Guard, Chief Petty Officer Megan C. Sesma

A versatile orchestral, chamber music, and film session musician, MUC Chief Musician, harp, Chief Petty Officer Megan Sesma has performed... Profile

Name: Army Civilian, Rickey Peer.

Army Civilian, Rickey Peer

Rickey Peer has served as the Chief of the Ammo Depot Automation Project Management Office at the US Army Joint Munitions Command since Sep 2007. Peer supervises a unique and diverse team whose mission is to facilitate and guide the collaborative integration of automation and enabling technologies into the ammunition logistics lifecycle business processes.

Peer began his career with the Federal Government as a Student Trainee in 1980. His previous assignments include Chief of the Accountability / Storage Division, Supervisory Industrial Base Manager, Environmental Scientist, Environmental Protection Specialist and Industrial Specialist.

Peer is an Arkansas native. He graduated from the University of Arkansas – Pine Bluff with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Technology in 1981. He is Level II certified in the acquisition field of Production, Quality, and Manufacturing, is Level I certified in Program Management, and is a member of the Army Acquisition Corps. He earned a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and has completed numerous logistics, leadership and executive courses of study, most notably the Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Training in Aug 02.

He is a two-time recipient of the Commander's Award for Civilian Service (Feb 04 and Jun 04) having been recognized for developing the Command's first Student Career Experience program with Historically Black Colleges/Universities and Hispanic Serving Institutions, and for his outstanding contributions to the Equal Employment Opportunity and Minority College Relations Programs. In Dec 08, Peer was officially designated as an "Arkansas Traveler" by Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe authorizing and commissioning him to serve as an Ambassador of Good Will for the state of Arkansas. Peer was recognized as AMC's 2009 National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Roy Wilkins Renown Award nominee. He also received two Special Act Awards in July 2010 and September 2011.

Name: Army Civilian, Jeffrey C. Cruz.

Army Civilian, Jeffrey C. Cruz

Jeff Cruz is currently Chief of the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Systems Analysis and Reporting Division, he is the Army Materiel Command (AMC) Army Workload and Performance System (AWPS) Program Manager (PM), and he is the Headquarters Joint Munitions Command (HQJMC), Hispanic Employment Program Manager (HEPM). Cruz works for the HQJMC located at the Rock Island Arsenal, Rock Island, IL.

A native of the Quad Cities, he has served in a variety of assignments in his 25 year career within the Army as a civil servant. Cruz's current mission is to provide ERP systems analysis and reporting to support executive decision making for the Enterprise. As the AMC AWPS PM he is responsible for implementing and maintaining the AWPS at HQAMC, depot maintenance, arsenal, and ammunition government installations. As the HQJMC HEPM he serves as the organization's primary advisor and subject matter expert on Hispanic employment.

At HQJMC, he has spent his time in the AWPS program office, since its inception, as a lead analyst responsible for coordinating, leading, directing, and organizing headquarters, contractor, and installation personnel efforts to implement and utilize the system for performance measurement and manpower requirements determination. Cruz has been leading all phases of program management in implementing the AWPS system, to include: Design, Development and Programming, Budgeting, Milestone Scheduling, Prioritizing, Training, Briefing and Configuration Management of the AWPS system. In this capacity he has helped to get the AWPS system certified to Congress as being operational for determining manpower requirements based upon workload.

Cruz also has an extensive background in management engineering and has pioneered efforts to measure white collar work within the federal government to include measurement of engineers and scientists at two army research and development centers. Cruz has performed a number of management studies, efficiency reviews and helped to develop an ammunition unit cost program within the army.

He has a M.A. degree in Organizational Leadership from St. Ambrose University, Davenport, IA, and a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of New Orleans and is a graduate of the 2002 DoD Executive Leadership Development Program (ELDP) and graduate of the 1995-2 class of the Army Management Staff College.

Cruz serves the Hispanic Community by working with Casa Guanajuato of the Quad Cities and mentors Hispanic youth through a martial arts program.

Name: Air Force Civilian, Bree Pelham.

Air Force Civilian, Bree Pelham

Bree L. Pelham is a Civil Engineer working for the 47th Civil Engineer Squadron as a Project Manager at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas. Pelham was born in Paterson, New Jersey. She attended PANTHER (Paterson and NASA Together for High Expectations and Results) Academy High School, graduating in the top ten percent of her class. Following graduation, she attended North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro, North Carolina, and earned a BS in Civil Engineering in 2010.

Throughout her collegiate years, she received numerous academic scholarships and held leadership positions for student organizations such as the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and the American Concrete Institute (ACI). In addition to academic leadership roles, she was dedicated to community service through the Greensboro Chapter of Habitat for Humanity and served as Community Service Chair for the Alpha Phi Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Immediately following graduation from college, Pelham was selected to participate as a Palace Acquire for the United States Air Force and arrived at Laughlin AFB, Texas, in July 2010. Since arriving at Laughlin AFB, she has been an active member in the Laughlin and Del Rio community. She has served in various positions to include African American Heritage Committee Chair 2011 and 2012, Booster Club Outreach Coordinator 2012, Booster Club Secretary 2013, and Laughlin Representative for Leadership Del Rio 2013. She continues to serve in her community as a praise dance leader/choreographer, praise & worship leader for Living Stone Worship Center and mentor in Del Rio, Texas.

Her Air Force awards include Mission Support Group Category II Civilian of the 4th Quarter of 2011, Wing Volunteer of the 1st Quarter of 2012, Wing Volunteer of the Year 2012 Nominee and Mission Support Group Volunteer of the 1st Quarter 2013.

Name: Coast Guard Civilian, Katiuska Pabón.

Coast Guard Civilian, Katiuska Pabón

A native of San Juan Puerto Rico, Katiuska Pabón is currently serving as a civilian Port Security Specialist at CG Sector Miami and is a Coast Guard Reserve LCDR at CG Base Miami Beach serving as the Reserve Deputy Admin Officer.

Pabón holds a Bachelor's Degree in General Education from La Universidad del Sagrado Corazón in Puerto Rico. She joined the Coast Guard in May 1998 through the Minority Officer Recruiting Effort (MORE) program and was commissioned as a Coast Guard Ensign in 2000.

In her military role, LCDR Pabón has been deployed for the recovery mission following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita spending more than 10 months assisting the Baton Rouge Joint Field Office working with several of FEMA Emergency Support Functions. She was also recalled to active duty in 2010 to assist in the response to the Deep Water Horizon oil spill, the largest oil environmental disaster is US history. As Liaison Officer to the Mobile, AL Incident Command Post, Pabón provided a critical communications link between impacted residents throughout the of the Gulf region and the Unified Command located in New Orleans, LA.

Pabón is a Tri-Athlete and involves her family in raising money for Lou Gehrig's Disease and the Miami Children's Hospital by running 10k and 5k races.

LCDR Pabón's military awards include a Coast Guard Achievement Medal, three Letters of Commendation, an Armed Forces Reserve Medal, four Coast Guard Operations Service Ribbons, a Coast Guard Presidential Unit Citation, six Meritorious Team Commendations, a Coast Guard Recruiting Ribbon, a Global Terror Service Medal, and a Dept of Transportation 9-11 Award.

Name: US Army Major, Roman Ortega Jr.

US Army Major, Roman Ortega Jr.

Major Roman Ortega is a native of Plainfield, IL and graduated from Plainfield High School in 1999. He graduated from Northern Illinois University and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant through the Reserve Officers' Training Corps program in May 2003. Ortega has more than fourteen years of service.

Ortega entered the service with the Illinois National Guard in 1998. His first duty station was in Joliet, IL. Ortega served as a Mortar Team Leader, Headquarters Company, 131st Infantry Battalion, 35th Infantry Division from October 1998 to May 2002 and completed an annual training deployment to Iceland in the summer of 2001. Ortega's next duty station was in Kankakee, IL. He served as Platoon Leader, Charlie Company, 131st Infantry Battalion, 35th Infantry Division from May 2002 to May 2003.

Ortega's first active duty permanent duty station was Fort Irwin, CA. He served as Mechanized Platoon Leader for Echo Troop, 2nd Squadron, 11th Armored Calvary Regiment until April 2005. From April 2005 to January 2006 he served as Military Instructional Training Team Commander for the 2nd Squadron, 11th Armored Calvary Regiment. Ortega served as Assistant S-3/ Assistant Operations Officer for the 2nd Squadron, 11th Armored Calvary Regiment until May 2006. While assigned to the Fort Irwin, CA he completed one deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Ortega's next key permanent duty station was Fort Myer, VA. He served as Honor Guard Platoon Leader for the Delta Company, 1st Infantry Battalion, 3rd U.S. Infantry until November 2006. From November 2006 to October 2008 he served as Battalion S-2/Intelligence Officer for the 1st Battalion, 3rd U.S. Infantry. While serving as the Intelligence Officer he also served as Rear Detachment Commander, 1st Battalion, 3rd U.S. Infantry from January 2007 to May 2008.

Following this, Ortega was with the United States Army Reserve, 2400 Military Intelligence Group (MIG), Military Intelligence Readiness Command at Fort Sheridan, IL from October 2008 to August 2009. During his time with the 2400 MIG he served as the Senior Intelligence Officer. Ortega came back on active duty in August 2009 with the United States Army Reserve (AGR) and currently serves as the Director of Military Science at Olivet Nazarene University in Illinois.

Ortega's Civilian Education includes: Bachelor's of Art Degree in Criminology, Northern Illinois University, 2003, Distinguished Military Graduate, 2003 and a Master's of Business Administration Degree in Finance, Lewis University, 2013. Ortega's is multi-lingual; he speaks Spanish, and some fluency in Arabic and Mandarin.

Ortega's Military Awards and Decorations consists of: the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal with 1 oak leaf cluster, the Army Commendation Medal with 2 oak leaf clusters, the Army Achievement Medal with 3 oak leaf clusters, the National Defense Service Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Global War On Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, and the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge (Gold). Major Ortega's Civilian Awards consists of: The Dean's Award at Northern Illinois University, 2003 and Lewis University Faculty of the Month, 2011.

Name: Undersecretary of the United States Army, Honorable Joseph W. Westphal

Undersecretary of the Army, Honorable Joseph H. Westphal

Dr. Joseph W. Westphal currently serves as the 30th Undersecretary of the Army and the Army's first Chief Management Officer (CMO). He has had a distinguished career of service in both academia and government.

Dr. Westphal served as Chancellor of the University of Maine System and Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine. He also served as the Provost, Senior Vice President for Research and Professor of Environmental Studies at The New School in New York City. Prior to his current appointment, Undersecretary Westphal served as a member of President Obama's Transition Team for Defense matters.

Dr. Westphal spent his first 12 years in academia as a professor in the Department of Political Science at Oklahoma State University, later becoming head of the Department. During his many years of public service, Dr. Westphal has lectured at numerous universities around the world and taught public policy as an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University while working in Washington DC.

In addition to a distinguished academic career, Dr. Westphal has led a prestigious and varied career in public service as well. In 2001, he served as the Acting Secretary of the Army and earlier, he served as the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works from 1998 to 2001.

Dr. Westphal has had extensive experience working in the United States Congress and other departments within the executive branch. He served as the Senior Policy Advisor for Water Resources at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency during the Clinton Administration. He also worked in the United States Congress in various capacities, from directing a bi-partisan congressional caucus in the House and Senate, as a budget analyst and assistant to the Chairman of the U.S. House Committee on the Budget. Earlier in his public service career, Dr. Westphal worked as a policy advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Land and Water Resources in the Department of the Interior.

Dr. Westphal received his Bachelor's degree from Adelphi University, his Master's degree from the Oklahoma State University and his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Dr. Westphal was born in Santiago, Chile, moved to the United States at an early age with his family, and speaks Spanish fluently. He is married and has four adult children and six grandchildren.

Name: Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Honorable Juan M. Garcia, III

Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Honorable Juan M. Garcia, III

Juan M. Garcia, III was confirmed as the assistant secretary of the Navy (Manpower and Reserve Affairs) on Sept. 16, 2009. In this capacity, he acts on matters pertaining to manpower and personnel policy within the Department of the Navy including issues affecting active duty and Reserve Sailors, Marines, and Department of the Navy civilians.

Garcia is an attorney, a former Texas state representative, and a second-generation naval aviator. Garcia, whose family hails from South Texas, was born May 27, 1966. He graduated from UCLA in 1988, and gave the student commencement speech. Garcia earned a Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School and a Master of Arts from Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government in 1992. After graduation, Garcia reported to Aviation Officer Candidate School and flight training, earning his "Wings of Gold" at Naval Air Station (NAS) Corpus Christi, Texas.

Garcia served in Patrol Squadron 47 out of NAS Barber's Point, Hawaii, and completed deployments to the Persian Gulf and Western Pacific. Garcia also served overseas as flag aide to the deputy commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe in London, deploying as part of Operation Allied Force during hostilities in Kosovo. From 1999 to 2000, Garcia was selected to be a White House fellow, serving as a special assistant to the Secretary of Education. Garcia then reported for sea duty aboard the aircraft carrier USS Constellation (CV 64), qualifying as officer of the deck (underway). In 2002, Garcia returned to the air as a flight instructor with Training Squadron 27 at NAS Corpus Christi.

Garcia left active duty in 2004, and transferred to the Navy Reserve. He served as the commanding officer of Reserve Training Squadron 28 at Corpus Christi until becoming Assistant Secretary of the Navy (M&RA) in October 2009.

Garcia practiced law with a Corpus Christi firm beginning in 2004. In 2006, he was elected to the Texas House of Representatives, and represented the 32nd District from 2007 to 2009, serving on the Defense and Veteran's Affairs Committee. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Name: Army Civilian, Marie Salinas

Army Civilian, Marie Salinas

Marie Salinas serves as the Logistics lead in the Operations Branch of the Army's Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Project Office.

Salinas was born in Georgetown, TX and lived in Waco, TX throughout her childhood. She graduated from University High School in Waco and enlisted in the Army in 1985, beginning her extensive career of dedicated federal service. She attended and graduated from Hawaii Pacific University with an Associate Degree in Supervisory Leadership/Business Management and is currently pursuing a Bachelor's degree.

Salinas served in variety of positions as a soldier on Active Duty, in the Army Reserves, and as a Department of the Army Civilian. She has deployed in support of multiple combat operations to include both Iraq and Afghanistan. Throughout her career, Salinas has remained a role model, always leading by example and representing the Hispanic community with honor and distinction.

Among her numerous awards and citations, Salinas is the recipient of the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, NATO Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, and Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia and Kuwait). Salinas also received the Commander's Award for Civilian Service and Latina Style Meritorious Service Award.

Name: United States Navy, Commander Margaret R. Larrea

United States Navy, Commander Margaret R. Larrea

Commander Meg Larrea currently serves as the Executive Officer for Defense Service Office Southeast.

She was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her father and mother are natives of Tampico, Tamaulipas, Mexico and Chicago, Illinois respectively. After moving around extensively, Larrea's family moved back to Mexico, settling in Mexico City when she was eight years old. A graduate of middle and high schools located in Mexico City, she attended Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology in 1988. She earned a Juris Doctor degree in 1996 from DePaul University College of Law in Chicago, Illinois. Finally, she received her Master of Laws in Environmental Law from The George Washington University Law School in 2008. She is admitted to the Illinois Bar. She was commissioned as an officer in the United States Navy through the JAGC Student Program in 1996.

Larrea's initial assignment after completing Naval Justice School in December 1996 was as Assistant Branch Head, Naval Legal Service Office Southeast, Branch Office Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico. There she served as the Legal Assistance Officer and Defense Counsel from 1997 to 1999. In March 1999, she did another overseas tour, as the Staff Judge Advocate for Naval Support Activity, La Maddalena, Italy.

Larrea's next duty station was the Office of the Judge Advocate General, Claims, Investigations, and Tort Litigation (Code 15) from 2001 to 2003, where she served as the Head, Military/Foreign Claims Branch. During this time, she spent three months TAD to Naval Station Roosevelt Roads, serving as the Officer-in-Charge and as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney. Her next assignment was as the Officer-in-Charge, Trial Service Office Northeast Detachment Groton, Connecticut.

In June 2006, she reported to USS GEORGE WASHINGTON (CVN 73) as the Command Judge Advocate, and in 2008 deployed with the ship for Partnership of the Americas and UNITAS during the homeport change to Japan. Larrea then proceeded to The George Washington University Law School for her LL.M. in Environmental Law, and in June 2009, reported as a Regional Environmental Counsel at Commander, Naval Region Southeast, Jacksonville, Florida. In March 2011, she deployed to Baghdad, Iraq, in support of Operation New Dawn at U.S. Forces-Iraq, Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, where she served primarily as the Division Chief of Rule of Law. She also assumed leadership of the Law and Order Task Force until end of mission.

In June 2012, Larrea assumed duties as Executive Officer of Naval Legal Service Office Mid-Atlantic, which on 1 October 2012 became Defense Service Office Southeast.

She is authorized to wear the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (2 gold stars), Navy Commendation Medal (1 gold star), Navy Achievement Medal (2 gold stars) and various unit awards.

Name: U.S. Coast Guard, Chief Petty Officer Megan C. Sesma

U.S. Coast Guard, Chief Petty Officer Megan C. Sesma

A versatile orchestral, chamber music, and film session musician, MUC Chief Musician, harp, Chief Petty Officer Megan Sesma, has performed in many diverse venues around the world, including Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow, the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, and Carnegie Hall in New York, as well as in numerous concert halls in South America. Her experience has placed her under the batons of some of music's greatest luminaries, including Neeme Jarvi, Yuri Termirkanov, John Williams, and Jerry Goldsmith.

No less an innovator when it comes to the harp's expressive and stylistic possibilities, Sesma has also shared the stage with several legends of contemporary and popular music: Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock, Diana Krall, and Dianne Reeves.

In February 2003, Sesma became the first enlisted harpist of the United States Coast Guard Band since the Band's creation in 1925. In addition to her duties with the Coast Guard Band, she substitutes with the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, and the Bridgeport, Manchester, New Britain, and Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestras.

Sesma holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the University of Rochester, and a Master of Arts degree in Harp Performance from New York University. Sesma is adjunct professor of harp at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, CT, and harp instructor at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, and Connecticut College in New London, CT.

Sesma performed at the July 2011 World Harp Congress in Vancouver, Canada, and the July 2005 World Harp Congress in Dublin, Ireland. Other noteworthy performances include a February 2013 performance of Debussy's Danse Sacrée et Profane at Connecticut College; a February 2012 performance of Mozart's Flute and Harp Concerto with the Connecticut Virtuosi; a July 2007 performance of Mozart's Flute and Harp Concerto with the Coast Guard Band; a March 2007 performance in Merkin Hall of the Mozart and Ravel's Introduction and Allegro. She was the Coast Guard Band's Midwest tour soloist during the summer of 2004, when she performed Alberto Ginastera's Concerto for Harp, Op.25.

Sesma's Coast Guard performances have included three Joint Chiefs of Staff luncheons for the inaugurations of Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush. She has performed for a Commandant sponsored dinner for the Norwegian Navy and the Mexican Coast Guard in addition to three performances for the Commandant's State of the Coast Guard Address.

Other career highlights include a speech and performance for the National Hispanic Military Banquet in Orlando, FL, and for the first National Migrant and Immigrant Youth Conference in Washington, D.C. Sesma has also performed for Veteran's Hospitals, retirement homes, and assemblies in inner city schools.

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Video: Army Hispanic Heritage Month Kickoff.

Army Hispanic Heritage Month Kickoff

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