NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — The Newport News Fire Department has named its first female battalion chief.

Sonya Armstrong, who began her career back in 1996 in Newport News as a firefighter/medic recruit, quickly rose through the ranks “thanks to her dedication and superior service,” the city says.

She has many certifications, as well as an associates degree in fire science from Tidewater Community College and a bachelors of science in fire administration from Columbia Southern University.

Armstrong serves as the health and safety officer for the department through that battalion chief role, the fire department says.