ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --
Danielle Little knows first hand how exposure to different experiences can be life changing and open a world of possibilities for a young person.
The 78th Air Base Wing Communications Directorate director, who hails from a small rural town in Snow Hill, Maryland, credits a visit from college students during her sophomore year of high school with re-directing the course of her life.
“I came from humble beginnings, living in a town of only 2,000 people,” said Little. “I always had fun with science, math, or anything technical. I initially planned to be a forensic pathologist until some engineers from a nearby historically black university spoke to my math class about their career field.
“While they urged the entire class to consider STEM field jobs, it really meant a lot to me to see people who looked like me doing something I had never heard of and it sounded interesting,” she continued.
After graduating from an HBCU in Baltimore, Maryland, with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering, Little headed to Georgia in 1996.
She journeyed to the Peach State after securing an internship at Robins Air Force Base with the Defense Information Systems Agency.
She planned to stay only three years, but many opportunities to grow came her way on the installation.
Little worked with the 402nd Software Engineering Group and 402nd Electronics Maintenance Group prior to joining the 78th ABW Communications Directorate.
“As director, I lead a great organization of awesome team members,” she said. “We have over 400 personnel - military, civilian and contractors. Our role is to take care of the base by providing communication and IT assets, which includes the base infrastructure network used by 23,000 customers and 54 mission partners.
“When it comes to cyber security, we ensure that Robins’ assets are protected,” she continued. “We also ensure our customers have access to mobile devices to perform their jobs effectively and securely while on or off the installation.”
Little continued on to get her master’s degree in electrical engineering from a university in Macon, Georgia.
Professionally and personally, her approach to various endeavors exemplify the core values of the Air Force.
“The Air Force is integrity, service and excellence,” she said. “We are serving our country and our country is our community, so to me they are aligned.”
Little is a 2020 recipient of the Air Force Meritorious Civilian Service Award. The honor is the fourth-highest award granted to civilian personnel by the United States Department of the Air Force for exemplary service.
In addition to her busy workload, Little is an active member in several civic-minded organizations.
Recently, she was honored by her sorority for contributions made in the areas of public service, social action and impact on students and schools.
Little also works as a STEM mentor in an outreach program for at-risk girls aged 14-18.
“I’m very passionate about girls in STEM and growing that pipeline here at Robins,” said Little. “Growing up in a rural community, I couldn’t have imagined being exposed to what I am now. With any demographic it is important to see yourself, because if you see it, you believe it, and if you believe it, then you can achieve it.
“We can impact children to greater opportunities and greater dreams,” she continued. “I’m of that mind set to whom much is given much is required. I know what it meant to me, and I want to have an impact on future generations.”
Little also believes connectedness is important to developing a strong team.
“Leadership is about growing leaders and inspiring people,” she said. “I am growing where I am planted. It was meant for me to be here.
“I’ve had great mentors and leaders who saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself,” Little continued. “And now I do the same thing, seeing untapped potential in others and giving a gentle nudge for them to reach their full potential.”