Newsletter - May 2020
Dear Women in Defense Central Florida Community,

I hope this message finds you, your family and all your loved ones safe, healthy and well! COVID-19 has changed our daily lives and will likely have an impact on our personal and professional lives for the foreseeable future.

In light of the need for our community to support our stay-at-home and social distancing guidelines, WID CFL has decided to postpone the events we had planned, beginning with the March Women in Contracting program we were co-hosting with our NCMA Mid-Florida colleagues, through September.

As of now, the first event we are planning to hold in person this year is our October 22nd Carol F. Denton Golf Range Challenge. We will be continuing to monitor the progress of COVID-19 and adjust as needed.

In the meanwhile, we realize our membership has a variety of new issues and challenges as we get used to spending most time at home. We will be collecting relevant information – in forms of online article, podcasts, etc. – and posting them to our website periodically. Please send me a message if there are specific content items you’d like to see.

Wishing everyone wellness as we work through the impacts of COVID-19!
Elizabeth Biddle
WID CFL President
WID CFL is pleased to announce our 2020 scholarship winners. Five high school winners plan to pursue STEM majors at the University of Florida, University of Central Florida (2), Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and University of Miami. Our three college winners are majoring in Biomedical Engineering, Computer Security, and Computer Science at U niversity of Central Florida and North Carolina State University. Congratulations to all!

Learn more about the CFL WID scholarship program:
Links about adapting to these COVID-19 times:

  • How to Be Your Best Self in Times of Crisis: "Life's beauty is inseparable from its fragility," says psychologist Susan David. In a special virtual conversation, she shares wisdom on how to build resilience, courage and joy in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Responding to listeners' questions from across the globe, she offers ways to talk to your children about their emotions, keep focus during the crisis and help those working on the front lines."
Something to Get Excited About

CFL WID sends a shout-out to crowdsourced start-up nonprofit organization, Reinvented Magazine . Recent college graduate Caeley Looney launched Reinvented a year ago here in the Central Florida area by to provide teenage girls and young women with literature focused on STEM activities and careers. Help Caeley and her team celebrate a successful first year on their anniversary, May 20, by visiting their anniversary sale and Issue #1 giveaway at

Reinvented Magazine is releasing Issue #4 in June and has acquired readers in 49 states and 15 countries. Keep an eye out for their upcoming series of monthly Steam Dreamer virtual panels featuring women discussing their STEM careers. Follow them at to learn more about the work and outreach they are doing to expand the horizons of our girls and women.
Just Around the Corner
WID-CFL will continue to hold virtual events through the summer. We are excited to announce that our next event will feature Susan Bohle, founder of the annual Serious Play Conference . Mark your calendars for 5pm, Thursday May 21. Look for details in your inbox on our Facebook site, .

WID CFL Makes Difficult Decisions
WID CFL held a networking event at the Valencia College School of Public Safety on February 20. During this event, hosted by the Orange County Sheriff's Office, we each had the opportunity to participate in a shoot-don't shoot scenario in the Sheriff’s Office VirTra 300 stereophonic, interactive training simulator. The high fidelity experience, followed by a short debrief focused on consequences of our decision, gave us a sense off the difficult life-and-death decision-making situations law enforcement officers face.

Many thanks to the Orange County Sheriff's Office for an excellent learning experience.
Let’s Get to Know Each Other: CFL-WID Member Showcase
Dr. Beth Biddle, our showcase member for this newsletter issue, is President of our Central Florida WID Chapter. I interviewed her about her career, hobbies, and what brought her to WID.
Career : Beth is a Technical Fellow at Boeing, providing guidance and oversight for human performance engineering, training services, and advanced learning research and development.
Beth began her career as a substance abuse counselor in South Florida. After five years, she found herself frustrated: “I felt I wasn’t helping the people I wanted to help.” She learned about the human factors psychology program at University of Central Florida (UCF) and decided to audit a class to find out if she liked it. In the first class meeting, the professor asked the students to take turns explaining their interest in human factors psychology. When Beth’s turn came, she said she’d like to be able to develop a virtual reality (VR) application that kids could use “to experience what it’s like to be high or on drugs as a good substance-abuse prevention tool.”
 After class, a fellow student offered to introduce Beth to someone interested in similar ideas. This introduction led to a position at the Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division, where Beth worked on a VR Training project for navy surface officers. This work led to PhD dissertation research on adaptive training titled Virtual Agent Applications , which she completed at UCF. From UCF, she went to work for a small business called Sonalysts and then on to Boeing a short time after, where she has been for over 16 years.
Community Involvement : In addition to her involvement in WID, Beth is dedicated to supporting the National Training and Simulation Association’s annual Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation, and Education Conference (I/ITSEC). She has participated in organizing and running I/ITSEC since 2003 when she joined the Research and Development Subcommittee. She served as Deputy Program Chair in 2015, overall Conference Chair in 2018, and is now Conference Scholarship Chair. In addition to all this (and more), Beth is leading the organization of the I/ITSEC Future Leader’s Pavilion, where high school students show their modeling and simulation projects. The students additionally submit papers for review, providing them with opportunities to interact with and receive mentoring from the I/ITSEC community.
Beth has been working to integrate WID activities into I/ITSEC. This began in 2016 with the first WID-run I/ITSEC lunchtime event, a cyber panel. “Every year since we’ve had a panel or speaker event open to WID members and non-members. The last two years, we added a special event. In 2018, it was on IA [information assurance]; 2019 was on immersive technologies.” To increase their reach and the involvement of WID membership, Beth has made all these events accessible without a conference registration.
Hobbies . During these COVID-19 times, Beth has switched from daily runs to daily kick-boxing on her porch. Her parents live nearby and so she also uses her free time to visit with and check on them.
Sources of Inspiration . When asked about sources of inspiration, Beth named two people who have encouraged and inspired her: Debbie Berry and Cyndi Krisan. She met and found mentors in the two over the course of her I/ITSEC work.
Becoming Involved in WID . Beth learned about WID from Debbie Berry, a founding member of our chapter and our first chapter President. In 2013, Beth joined WID and the CFL-WID Board as Special Projects Director. She says she was drawn to WID by the fact that “there are a lot of very good women role models.” She also saw it as an opportunity to help women in our community develop professionally: “It’s a way to give back to other women since I’ve had so many help me.” Another source of appeal is that WID allows her to meet, interact with, and learn from women across many different career tracks—“from active service to finance and contracting to program management.”
Aspirations . Beth’s involvement in both WID and I/ITSEC is driven by a goal to help others. As our chapter President, she organizes, contributes to, and advocates for WID activities, programs, and scholarships that will help others. In her I/ITSEC role, she is actively working to use I/ITSEC as a platform to enrich knowledge, networking, and opportunities for both our WID community and Central Florida students.
Quote of the Month:  “The general notion of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics as being predominantly masculine fields is something that has needed to change for a long time now, but there's really only one way to truly change something - and that's to  reinvent  it.”
WID CFL Officers, from left to right:
Elizabeth Biddle, President
Sondra Chambers, Vice President
Kristen Mills, Secretary
Julie Kent, Treasurer

Please send comments and newsletter contributions to
Kelly Neville @
Women in Defense Central Florida Chapter
Women In Defense (WID), a National Security Organization, is an affiliate of the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA).
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