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NEWS | May 18, 2023

NSWC Crane Computer Scientist develops tools for Warfare Center

By Audrey C. Deiser, NSWC Crane Corporate Communications

May 18, 2023

CRANE, Ind. – Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane) computer scientist Kaelyn Nguyen is a software developer with a penchant for problem-solving, pastries, and Power Apps.

She was a recipient of the CyberCorps Scholarship for Service award, a “unique program designed to recruit and train the next generation of information technology professionals, industrial control system security professionals, and security managers to meet the needs of the cybersecurity mission for Federal, State, local, and tribal governments.” During a career fair in Washington, D.C. Nguyen learned about Crane, although she almost went in a different career direction – psychiatry.

“I decided computer science was the right path, because it has more career opportunities and creative outlets,” said Nguyen. “I really like creating and designing—being able to watch something come to life.”

Nguyen has worked at NSWC Crane since graduating from Louisiana Tech University, spending that time bringing to life software tools for the Warfare Center. In her time at NSWC Crane, the Information Technology Division transitioned the organization of more than three thousand employees from a legacy SharePoint to a new environment with full integration across other tools.

“My responsibilities include developing tools in Microsoft Power Apps and helping with SharePoint development,” said Nguyen. “It was challenging, since we adopted Power Apps two years ago before anyone on our team knew how to use it. We had a three day training and then began working on projects; we learned as we went.”

Along with technical know-how, Nguyen said patience and problem-solving are must-haves in her position.

“With Power Apps being new to the government and everyone transitioning to FLANKSPEED, we had to change environments a lot and do a lot of research on our own - and with coding in general, things don’t always work out,” said Nguyen. “That’s where problem-solving and critical thinking comes in. Thinking outside the box, doing that research, being able to look at what other developers have done through blog posts and internet forums, and asking your team…each project that we have worked on is unique to Crane, so we had to have patience to figure out how to get it done.”

Nguyen’s favorite projects – and the ones she’s most proud of - have been the tools that allowed her to flex her creative muscles.

“My favorite tools to develop have been the office supply store or the public release portal,” said Nguyen. “For the office supply store, we wanted to give it an e-commerce feel, so we used inspiration from one of the largest e-commerce sites. It was really complex, but it was also the very first application I worked on. I’m proud of how we were able to accomplish so many things to modernize it. With the public release portal, I was the lead developer and was able to use my own creative freedom to improve an existing solution.”

Those two tools are used by everyone on base, so Nguyen knew it was important to make them user-friendly.

“I really enjoy front-end design, which includes designing it aesthetically, visually. For example, where the buttons go,” said Nguyen. “Whereas the back end is all about the data, and how it’s stored for the software. Front end to me, means making it user-friendly and intuitive for our users. I know a lot of users aren’t very technology savvy, and I personally believe any application I use can always be more intuitive and improved. Any time I’m on my phone using your typical social media apps, I’m thinking, ‘They could have done this better, or they should add this feature; that’s how my mind works. As someone who also consumes technology, I want others to have the most easy and fluid experience using the solution that was designed for them.”

Nguyen said that user experience and problem-solving motivates her.

Having that creative freedom to do something, not re-create an existing solution exactly, but being able to modernize it, and giving a better user experience to an application [motivates me],” said Nguyen. “A lot of these projects that I’ve recreated,  they are all already existing applications, so the more creative freedom I have, the more motivated I am and the more I enjoy what I am doing.”

Although Nguyen is a dedicated computer scientist—that is not how she spends all of her time.

“I get hyper-fixated on different hobbies. Right now I’m pretty fixated on baking. I always dreamed of being a baker, and I actually was so excited when I moved up here because I was going to go in the office and bring in all the left overs for my co-workers to enjoy. Then COVID happened, so I didn’t get to practice my baking skills. But now that we’re going out about again, I’m able to. The last thing I made was macarons with a buttercream filling.”

About NSWC Crane

NSWC Crane is a naval laboratory and a field activity of Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) with mission areas in Expeditionary Warfare, Strategic Missions and Electronic Warfare. The warfare center is responsible for multi-domain, multi- spectral, full life cycle support of technologies and systems enhancing capability to today's Warfighter.

Join Our Team! NAVSEA employs a diverse, highly trained, educated, and skilled workforce - from students and entry level employees to experienced professionals and individuals with disabilities. We support today's sophisticated Navy and Marine Corps ships, aircraft, weapon systems and computer systems. We are continuously looking for engineers, scientists, and other STEM professionals, as well as talented business, finance, logistics and other support experts to ensure the U.S. Navy can protect and defend America. Please connect with NSWC Crane Recruiting at this site - https://navsea.recsolu.com/external/form/jmR6cUhZKZ_qD5QUqyMk8w or email us at crane_recruiting@navy.mil