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Crystal Young

Crystal Young
Strategic & Computing Systems Department

What school did you attend?
Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, New York, earning a bachelor’s in physics.

University at Buffalo in Buffalo, New York, earning a master’s in mechanical engineering.

How long have you been employed at NSWCDD?
I started working at NSWCDD in April 2021. I’ve served as an engineer at NSWCDD for almost two years.

What do you like the most about your job?
Here are the top two reasons I love my job: I know my work has real impact on the world and I have a part in ensuring national security. It is very fulfilling and humbling to work in service to our nation, citizens and warfighters. The program I work on is very complex and multi-faceted. I love to learn, and in my program, I have the opportunity to pursue my interests in multiple disciplines all while being able to support my original program.

What advice do you have for those looking to pursue the engineering career path?
When I talk about learning, I don’t necessarily mean just traditional classroom-type learning. I mean being open to learning in every area of your career, whether those skills are social, technical, managerial or in another category all together. Part of the spirit of an engineer is a drive to develop solutions to problems. Problem-solving often means utilizing knowledge and information from various fields and topics. At the end of the day, all of this leads back to taking initiative and constantly aiming to learn and grow more. Many times, this also involves learning from others. I encourage any person wishing to pursue engineering to push themselves to learn from others and grow in multiple areas.

The other piece of advice I have is to take ownership over your career path. This directly stems from being open to learning and interacting with others. Even if you don’t know exactly what you want to do over the course of your career, you must advocate for yourself. If an opportunity seems interesting to you, reach out to learn more about it. If you’re interested in a subject or topic and there’s no formal opportunity available, think outside the box and utilize the interaction skills you’ve practiced to explore alternative options.

Why did you choose to work for the Navy?
I was first exposed to working for the Navy during my master’s thesis work, which was funded by the Naval Engineering Education Consortium. I worked on a project that focused on augmented reality-guided maintenance solutions for warfighter.

I pursued a career in engineering to be technically challenged, work on diverse projects and to have a medium with which I can make a positive difference in others’ lives. Through my initial experience working on the Navy-sponsored project, I gained an appreciation of the direct impact I could have on the warfighter and wanted to pursue a career working for the Navy.

What other information would you like to share to a future engineer?
My position at NSWCDD is the first I’ve held in engineering after graduating from school. During my first few months on the job, I had to reevaluate many preconceptions about professional life, including ideas about the work environment and the program I supported. Although everyone’s experience is different, I’m glad I continue to fully dedicate myself to my career and give myself the opportunity to learn and grow from those initial preconceptions during that time. The transition from school to work is not easy, but for me, it was another interesting challenge to learn from.