Steffanie Easter spent her career working as a civilian at the Department of Defense.
“I had the opportunity to work on the best programs in the world,” said Easter, who worked for the U.S. Navy with the exception of a two-year stint with the U.S. Army. “The most exciting was probably the F-35 Lightning II program.”
Raised in a family where sports always seemed present – her father was a longtime high school and college football and basketball official – Easter grew up learning about and loving the game of football. And when you add her civilian career in the DOD, it seemed like a natural fit when Easter was invited to join the Military Bowl Foundation’s Board of Directors in 2014. “When I talked to [Military Bowl Foundation President & Executive Director Steve Beck] and found out the true mission of the Military Bowl, I learned it wasn’t just a bowl game to raise money, but it is about the men and women in uniform and making their lives better,” Easter said. “I remember telling him about my passion for outreach – and specifically STEM — and I felt a connection with him and it made me want to be a part of it even more.”
While Easter is a graduate of N.C. State University with a degree in chemical engineering and a devoted Wolfpack fan, she actually considered going to Clemson University. But N.C. State’s two-week, on-campus engineering program for high schoolers changed Easter’s mind. After graduation, Easter found herself working for the Navy. “When I graduated from N.C. State, I had a friend who worked for the Navy and she loved it and invited me to come up and spend some time with her,” Easter said. “I did, and I was hired by the Naval Air Systems Command, which had a program to hire engineers out of college. My goal was to come to the area, work for the Navy for a few years to get experience and move back to North Carolina and get a ‘real job.’ Thirty-four years later [in December 2019} I retired from the Department of Defense.” Easter now works for Science Applications International Corp. as vice president of strategy and planning for the Defense Systems Group. While she has retired from the Department of Defense, her current position still keeps her connected to the DOD and her passion for the Military Bowl still burns strong. “When we acquired Patriot Point in 2016, to me that was the icing on the cake – I knew this was for real and it was not just about giving money to the USO to help the men and women in uniform, but it was also to help our recovering service members and their caregivers who have done so much for us,” Easter said, adding that she especially enjoys the camaraderie among the board members. “Look how much Patriot Point has been able to do in such a short time. It’s unbelievable. When you see the Bowl doing that, how can you not support it?”