Becoming Better … A Journey

In January of 1980, I was given the news that I would not graduate with my class. I was one credit short. So with that blow, I decided it was time for me to change my life for the better. I pushed through; passing my test in summer school. And in the summer of 1980, I graduated and gave birth to my third daughter Nicole that evening.

except from “The Start of My Transformation” by Anita Westmoreland

On that evening in the summer of 1980, Dr. Sophoria Westmoreland, CEO and President of The Westmoreland Group, was born – that was an excerpt from her mother’s testimony.

And with that our story begins.

It was just over two years ago that my generous benefactor, good friend and colleague, Dr. Westmoreland would launch her company, The Westmoreland Group, secure a contract and become employee #1. Congratulations, Dr. Westmoreland. 

So, it was no surprise that Dr. Westmoreland would elect to embark on a new journey – to share her dream. One that celebrates her entrepreneurial spirit. One that promotes women in leadership. One that embodies her commitment to serving others. One that hopes to leave a legacy for future Westmoreland generations. And one that promotes her relentless pursuit of joy and encourages others simply to do the same. That’s a good dream.

If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then, you are an excellent leader.”

Dolly Parton

Becoming Better, is Dr. Westmoreland’s new journey, a dream to simply encourage others in becoming better both personally and professionally. 

While, Dr. Westmoreland’s mom graduating and giving birth on the same day could be an interesting coincidence, I beg to differ. Dr. Westmoreland was ‘different by design’ even before she was born.

Dr. Westmoreland holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, a B.S. in General Engineering, and dual degrees, M.S. and Ph.D., in Mechanical Engineering. Clearly, she is bright, accomplished (just google her) and well educated. But, wherein lies her strength, is her desire to exceed expectations, express joy by how she elects to live her life and empower others to do the same. 

Dr. Westmoreland believes that the key to succeeding is through service. She is an active member of her church, Metropolitan Baptist Church, participating in various ministries to include the choir, Vacation Bible School and P.U.S.H., the prayer ministry. She is an active member of her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., having served as her chapter’s chaplain.

Dr. Westmoreland’s past work experience includes teaching an 8th grade engineering design course at the Grantham Academy for Engineering and Senior Design, and Statics as an Assistant Research Professor at the United States Naval Academy; where she mentored and served as a faculty advisor to the academy’s NSBE Chapter.  

Currently, Dr. Westmoreland supports the Office of Naval Research (ONR) as an employee of none other than the Westmoreland Group. Dr. Westmoreland seeks to provide customer-focused, technically astute support – believing that clients should be served, not simply supported, with integrity. Dr. Westmoreland is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and currently supports her client, ONR, as a Business Specialist, providing Navy financial management system expertise; giving administrative direction and support to ONR research, STEM outreach and NREIP/SEAP internship programs. Her other duties encompass event planning, logistics and administrative program support. 

Dr. Westmoreland is published in a number of academia and technical publications and has been formally recognized by both NSBE and the National Science Foundation to name a few. Her dissertation, entitled ‘Design Thinking: Cognitive Patterns in Engineering Design Documentation’ was featured in a book, Sisters in the Dissertation House. She is a consummate thinker, problem solver and continues to color outside the proverbial lines. 

In her free time, Dr. Westmoreland enjoys writing, baking, event planning, reading, singing in the choir and working out. Her hobbies include history (she volunteered as a docent for the Smithsonian), photography, being punctual and helping others become more organized. 

Dr. Westmoreland is outgoing, engaging, easily affable, humorous and comfortable with herself. She is well versed, unpretentious, unencumbered with titles or pedigree; and her humility belies her personal and professional accomplishments. 

One of her favorite poems is Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken which she has prominently displayed in her home. The last two lines read:

“I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”

That is Dr. Westmoreland’s daily reminder to be fearless on this journey to becoming better. We hope you enjoy the ride.

“Be light … be you … be better.”

~Blog by Dorothy’s Daughter

One thought on “Becoming Better … A Journey

  1. Pam Porter Wright says:

    This is awesome Nikki, thanks for sharing. I knew you are smart and now I know why. I too was not going to graduate at Univ WI LaCrosse, BS Chemistry with a Business Concentration, because I got sick and with just one year of credits after transferring there from Howard, my GPA was not sufficient to graduate. My counselor did not want to support me to approach the University board because no one had ever graduated with a less than acceptable GPA. So, I too found the money to enroll one last summer session, approached the board, and they agreed with my argumowhy the Should graduate me and they did. I’m now reading “Leaders Eat Last”, which speaks to various aspects of true leadership.


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