DAHLGREN, Va. –
A stroke of luck, a happy accident or destiny? For many scientists and engineers at Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD), a single decision shaped their lives and careers. Lead Scientist in the Laser Weapon System Technology and Lethality Branch, Chris Lobmeyr von Hohenleiten, is one of those scientists.
After graduating with a physics degree from the University of William and Mary, Lobmeyr von Hohenleiten landed at NSWCDD in 2008 with the help of a family friend, who worked at the base and had heard of Lobmeyr von Hohenleiten’s college project with lasers. “When he heard about my project, he gave my resume to some of the people on the laser team, and they needed more help so they hired me and I’ve stuck around ever since,” said Lobmeyr von Hohenleiten.
“The best part of my day is watching the high-energy laser melt things in slow motion.” Lobmeyr von Hohenleiten’s love of lasers and “getting to do something different every day” makes his job an exciting challenge. “I never pictured myself working on a naval base,” said Lobmeyr von Hohenleiten. “But it makes sense because my brother and father are merchant seamen, my grandfather was a navy corpsman and my grandmother was a naval nurse.”
Lobmeyr von Hohenleiten is optimistic about the growing diverse culture in the STEM field. “I have seen so much growth in diversity since I began,” Lobmeyr von Hohenleiten expressed. “When I tell people I have a husband, everyone’s fine with that. It’s matter of fact. I hope to see even more diversity in general in the STEM field in the future.”
Lobmeyr von Hohenleiten says the diversity in his work continues to drive his interest in laser technology. “There is no set schedule. Some days it’s very research-heavy where you are on the computer trying to figure out things. Some days it's mostly writing,” Lobmeyr von Hohenleiten says. “Some days it’s a lot of number crunching, and other days you get to go into the lab and try to figure out how best to solve problems. Some days we put things together and then others we make things break.” Lobmeyr feels that since the laser technology field is ever changing and growing, there is always something new to learn.