“You need to find a very deeply rooted reason as to why you want to do a PhD. It will get you through the challenging times of the journey”.
Dr. Elizabet Haro – taking her colleague’s advice to heart – soon discovered deeply embedded roots motivating her to pursue a doctorate program that involved her love of teaching and continuous learning.
“To this day, I share this advice with others because of the impact it had on my career, said Haro, who leads a science and technology team focused on developing a strategic direction of applied research and advanced technology development to grow the Navy’s expertise in Human Performance, Human-Device Interaction and Human Systems Integration (HSI).
“Today, mentoring is my new way of teaching and my endless quest for learning has manifested in the technical science and technology programs I support,” said Haro. “As an HSI engineer, I am continuously looking for the next areas that will positively impact and enhance our warfighters.”
Haro works closely with NSWCDD leadership, to make those “next areas” a reality in her work on science and technology roadmaps that drive the command’s development of its Digital Engineering Strategy.
Moreover, the HSI leader’s technical and strategic leadership in executing this strategy resulted in portfolio growth of over $4 million across its core areas – artificial intelligence, machine learning, manned unmanned teaming, and mixed reality – with key customers, including Program Executive Office Integrated Warfare Systems 1.0, the Office of Naval Research, and the Naval Research Laboratory.
“I am big sports fan, especially team sports. There is nothing I enjoy more than watching a team executing a plan and achieving their common goals. Some may not be aware of this, but research is also a team sport,” said Haro while continuously crediting her team, government employees and contractors, for their innovative work to advance the state of the art in HSI science and technology research. "Successful research is not a single originator of an idea, but rather a team that challenges each other and brings the ideas to fruition in an equalized structured. Successful research is about leading, unifying, inspiring and motivating teams to take concepts, materialize them and transition them to the hands of our warfighters.”
Haro’s science and technology team is focused on developing a strategic direction in areas that includes applied research and advanced technology development. The main goal is to grow the Navy’s expertise in human performance, human-device interaction and HSI.
“Our team members work vigorously to align, accelerate, and apply scientific discoveries and technological advancements to transition as naval capabilities in the areas of augmented warfighter, operational endurance, and human intelligent system integration," said the HSI engineer. "With our motto of, ‘research to practice,’ we are working to advance HSI science and technology research in areas including, artificial intelligence, machine learning, manned unmanned teaming, warfighter performance and mixed reality. For those accomplishments and more, I can’t thank them enough.”
Haro is also grateful for her parents’ inspiration and dedication that motivated her to be the first in her family to graduate from college.
“I came to this country when I was eight years old. Only my immediate family accompanied me on the journey and I remember vividly leaving my friends behind because freedom no longer existed,” recounted Haro. “My journey to freedom was through the sea. My parents came to this country without knowing anyone or speaking the language. But they knew that through hard work, education and dedication, the opportunities were endless for my sisters and me. After finishing my bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Purdue University, I knew I wasn’t done. It took me years, but I finally went back to school and finished my PhD at Virginia Tech. I joined NSWC Dahlgren Division because I want to help protect the freedom and waters that gave me the opportunities and embraced my family, when I was a child.”