Fort Detrick deputy commander to be honored today
The Frederick (Md.) News-Post
FREDERICK, Md. — There is no typical workday for Col. Andrea Stahl.
As deputy commander of the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, Stahl is second in command of the large laboratory, where scientists work with a range of agents, including anthrax. Stahl has been in the position since April 2011.
“Every day is different,” Stahl said during an interview in her office at USAMRIID earlier this week. “Every day has its new crisis and challenges.”
Stahl will be honored today with the Frederick County Commission for Women's 2013 Trailblazer Award. It will be presented as part of the fifth annual Maryland Women's Conference.
Stahl said she was shocked and humbled to be chosen. At 47 — she will turn 48 Sunday — Stahl said she never planned on a career in the Army. Stahl was a member of the ROTC while she attended Bucknell University in Pennsylvania. She graduated in 1988.
“It was an opportunity to work, and I was going to be sent to Germany, which I thought was really cool,” Stahl said.
Stahl was an ambulance platoon leader in the 42nd Medical Company, 2nd Corps Support Command in Ludwigsburg, Germany, before being assigned to Walter Reed Army Medical Center as a hospital administrator. She received a scholarship from the Army to attend Yale University School of Medicine, from which she received a master's degree in science in 1994 and a Ph.D. in physiology in 1998.
“I have to say, the Army has some phenomenal opportunities not only for scientists but for women in general,” Stahl said. After stints again at Walter Reed and in Germany, Stahl arrived at USAMRIID in 2004. She spent time working on botulinum toxin inhibitors in a lab before becoming chief of the lab's integrated toxicology division. In 2009, Stahl was named first female commander of the U.S. Army Center for Environmental Health Research.
Stahl said she's met little resistance in the Army as a woman.
“There have been many, many more people who've looked to give me a hand up and have looked to work with and be collaborative with me than the opposite,” Stahl said. “Maybe it's just a product of the timing and that women, you know, who maybe entered the military earlier than I did fought those battles, but I think overall it's been a very positive experience.”
As a shy person, Stahl said the Army has offered the chance to get out of her comfort zone and lead.
“It's hard to get up and be the leader in front of people and say this is what we're going to do and this is how it's going to happen,” Stahl said. “You've always got this self doubt in the back of your head, like, 'Are they looking at me thinking she's crazy?'”
Sharon Dobson, past president for the FCCFW, said Stahl was chosen for her leadership of such a high-profile organization and because of her work in the sciences.
“She has a very important position in the world of scientists,” Dobson said. “We need more women in science and math and technology.”
Stahl lives with her husband, Col. Sidney Hinds, in North Potomac. The couple have three children, ages 22, 14 and 12. In her spare time, Stahl likes to read. She also runs, though she laughed when she said she would “in no way call myself a runner.”
“I'm an old lady who has an iPod,” Stahl said.
If you go
The fifth annual Maryland Women's Conference runs from 8:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. today at the Holiday Inn and Conference Center located at 5400 Holiday Drive Frederick, MD 21703.
Registration fees run from $20 for part day to $50 for the entire day, including brunch. Students are $30 and military are $40.