DAHLGREN, Va. –
A chance encounter led to an important life-altering decision for Chloe Lee. During her college orientation, Lee walked into the wrong campus building and happened to sit next to a department chair who would later lead her down a different path than the one she had mapped out for herself. After engaging in conversation with the department chair over lunch and accepting a scholarship offer, Lee pivoted from pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering to one in electrical engineering instead. This decision laid the first stepping stone in her career journey to Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD).
Lee’s drive and inspiration came at an early age and derived from her parents, who worked and supported military and government agencies throughout their careers. She enjoyed exploring mathematics, science and technology development in high school. Lee received recognition for two patents – one in 2015 for an asymmetric latch mechanism and the other in 2017 for a corrective collar activator system to prevent asphyxiation for animals.
While attending the University of Southern California (USC), she decided that electrical engineering aligned more with her future career goals. In May 2021, Lee earned a bachelor’s degree in the field, with an emphasis in electronics and hardware design.
Soon after graduating from USC, Lee received an opportunity to join the NSWCDD workforce. She packed up her California life and moved across the country to Virginia in a matter of three days to start her new position at NSWCDD. “I was set to work for a big name company in Silicon Valley, but I was approached by recruiters from Dahlgren. It was just another chance encounter that I ended taking the position here,” said Lee. “To be able to serve my country in my own way is extremely important to me, as both my parents served in their way too. Working for the military, for Dahlgren, means I’m working with cutting edge technology and it’s exciting to me.”
She currently serves as an electrical and electronics engineer with the Concept Design for Electromagnetic and Sensor Technologies Branch at NSWCDD. In this role, Lee supports Navy-wide electrical and electronic projects focused on concept design, research and development and test and evaluation work. “We are a concept development branch, which means we examine and test new technologies and decide what technology would best fit the Navy’s needs and mission,” stated Lee.
Sharing her technical knowledge, high energy and enthusiasm, Lee quickly became an essential team member, receiving acknowledgment from leadership and given department-wide opportunities that demonstrate her skillsets, talent and accomplishments.
“My advice for any newcomer is to be vocal and communicate, both technically and professionally. People are here for you, so find mentors that understand and align with your career goals,” Lee said. “I have such amazing mentors in my life that not only encourage me to explore different opportunities but also provide weekly check-ins to ensure I’m on track professionally and mentally. That openness I’ve found here at Dahlgren is what I appreciate the most and am grateful for.”
With the encouragement of her mentors and department leadership, Lee plans to continue her education and enter into a Ph.D. program for electrical engineering at the University of Virginia.
In celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, NSWCDD recognizes Lee for her professional achievements and contributions supporting the fleet and warfighter.