Crane, Ind. - Chemical Engineer Mackenzie Alameda had never even been to Indiana when she took a job at Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane) right after graduating from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 2015, but the promise of opportunity drew her in. Alameda grew up in New Jersey and went to college in Massachusetts, a long way from Crane, Indiana. But she knew she wanted to work for the Department of Defense (DoD), and NSWC Crane had a position open in a field she found interesting.
“I accepted and moved out here, not knowing anyone in the entire state of Indiana,” said Alameda, who works in munitions. “I knew I wanted to work somewhere I felt good about, where the end product or service is meaningful.”
Alameda says there was a steep learning curve when she first came to NSWC Crane, but she powered through with methods she wants to share with others.
“When I began working on grenades programs, and it took some time to feel comfortable processing information and data and being able to make recommendations on different projects/test methods,” she said. “I was able to learn quickly by asking questions and figuring out who I can go to if I need help on something.”
Alameda credits her quick integration into NSWC Crane culture to her colleagues.
“The people I work with are knowledgeable, caring, supportive, and willing to help out and answer when I have questions or when I encounter problems I’m not experienced with,” she said.
She now acts as an Acquisition Engineer Agent, which means she follows the production, delivery and acceptance testing of grenades. She is also a member of the Munitions Reaction Evaluation Board (MREB) under Naval Ordnance Safety and Security Activity (NOSSA), which provides guidance and recommendations for proper design, conduct and evaluation of ordnance hazard assessment testing.
Alameda has overcome her lack of experience with munitions, but she knows there’s still more to learn.
“I want to grow my knowledge and gain technical expertise in grenades and the field of energetics,” she said. She’s currently pursuing a Masters in Mechanical Engineering with a focus in Explosives Engineering.
Although Alameda is kept fairly busy between her work and school schedule, she still makes time for personal hobbies and passions. She’s currently training for a half-marathon, and she also bikes, cooks, travels and plays Ultimate Frisbee. Community engagement is also important to her – she’s on the executive board for the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) for Southwest Central Indiana, does volunteer STEM outreach and mentors a FIRST Lego League team.
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. NSWC Crane is responsible for multi-domain, multi- spectral, full life cycle support of technologies and systems enhancing capability to today’s warfighter. http://www.navsea.navy.mil/Home/Warfare-Centers/NSWC-Crane/