Noblis is proud to have a diverse staff, and in honor of Women’s History Month, we are recognizing our professionals and the positive impact they make to the culture of our organization and to our clients. In this first of a two-part series, we are proud to feature these women and share their thoughts on their careers, their most pivotal moments, who inspires them and more. Read part two here.
Anh has been with Noblis for almost 22 years and has worked with several clients in our Federal Civilian Solutions mission area.
What made you pursue your field? I pursued my field because I’m passionate about discovering the power of data analytics to inform decisions.
Can you tell us about a pivotal point in your career? A pivotal point in my career was when I was selected to receive a scholarship, sponsored by Noblis’ professional development program, to study computer science at George Mason University. I also started my career as an intern in Noblis’ internship program.
Who is the most influential woman you know? How do they inspire you? My mother is the most influential woman I know, inspiring me with her wisdom, advice, courage, enthusiasm and encouragement to overcome many challenges and barriers in life.
What advice did you receive from a woman that has stuck with you? Or what advice do you wish you could give your younger self? Do your best for “the best of reasons!” Never give up and never take anything for granted!
What’s one thing about you that your colleagues don’t know or have been surprised by when they find out? One thing that our colleagues might not know is my family of five came to the U.S. in 1990 as refugees via the Orderly Departure Program (ODP) established by the United Nations to help Vietnamese people escape the communist regime. The first few years living in the new land was very challenging to us. Besides the language barrier, my family and I endured many difficulties in adjusting to American culture; however, that didn’t stop us from achieving the American dream. My family’s journey to the U.S. made us realize to never take anything for granted.
What was it about Noblis, our mission, or our culture that influenced your decision to come work/stay here? Noblis is really a great place to work with the best ethical culture, diversity, comfortable/flexible working environment, great benefits and especially by helping all employees to learn and grow.
What is one of your proudest achievements at Noblis? How did this contribution support Noblis’ or your client’s mission? One of my proudest achievements is being a team lead and one of the key contributors to work in the area of federal telecom acquisitions and procurement, full lifecycle from requirements to post-award activities, ultimately resulting in helping the client with effective decision making to drive more meaningful and positive program changes.
Chinazo is a data analyst and SAFe Agilist with Noblis’ Federal Civilian Solutions mission area. She started as part of the 2020 intern class and has been with Noblis full-time for just over six months.
What made you pursue your field? My passion for using IT to solve healthcare problems was the driving force for my career, including my interest in using data to derive business insights and solve problems.
Can you tell us about a pivotal point in your career? A pivotal point in my career was when I joined Noblis. Prior to that, most of my experience as a business analyst was focused on requirements elicitation and software development. Noblis provided the space for me to explore other areas of interest and develop on my skill in data analytics.
What advice did you receive from a woman that has stuck with you? Or what advice do you wish you could give your younger self? My advice to my younger self is with perseverance and hard work, you can achieve and be whatever you want to be.
What was it about Noblis, our mission, or our culture that influenced your decision to come work/stay here? Noblis focuses more on employee growth and development and has a safe work culture that allows you to be your authentic self and provides work-life balance.
What is one of your proudest achievements at Noblis? How did this contribution support Noblis’ or your client’s mission? One of my proudest achievements at Noblis was participating in the COVID-19 Datathon challenge. Our challenge solution formed a baseline for ongoing research and analysis that is focused on future pandemic preparedness and response.
What is your message to your colleagues about diversity, equity, inclusion and intersectionality? Speak up, look out for each other, advocate for each other and do what is right. Everyone is different and unique in their own way. We should use our uniqueness and diverse backgrounds to complement each other.
Danielle first joined Noblis in June 2010 as an intern and was hired full-time in August 2012. During her tenure, she has worked in three of our mission areas and is currently working with our Federal Civilian Solutions mission area. Her background is in forensic science and bioinformatics.
What made you pursue your field? I have always had a passion for science and data driven solutions to questions that could not otherwise be answered. I chose to forego a softball sports scholarship to pursue my Bachelor’s degree in forensic science. After graduation, I decided that working in a lab was not for me so instead pursued a Master of Science in bioinformatics to combine my interests in human biology and computer science.
What advice did you receive from a woman that has stuck with you? Or what advice do you wish you could give your younger self? I would tell my younger self to never settle and always strive for greatness. Be open and honest and make sure at the end of the day, you’re happy with your work and character.
What was it about Noblis, our mission, or our culture that influenced your decision to come work/stay here? Noblis has been a fantastic place to work. I love the culture and the openness from the CEO to the interns. Noblis strives to be inclusive to everyone regardless of their background. I feel like Noblis truly cares about their employees and that means something to me.
Dolapo is a cybersecurity project manager working for Noblis’ Federal Civilian Solutions mission area in New Carrollton, MD. She joined Noblis in March 2020 and is also involved with the Agile community of practice to help increase Agile knowledge awareness and support smooth Agile implementation efforts for various projects with our federal clients. Dolapo is also a member of our Blacks at Noblis Employee Resource Group, which supports the growth and wellness of African and African-American employees at Noblis.
What made you pursue your field? I pursed this field because I enjoy process improvement efforts both personally and professionally. I like learning about processes, implementing and improving processes and above all seeing impressed and satisfied users.
Can you tell us about a pivotal point in your career? A pivotal point in my career came when I was managing and leading a team to deliver on a project that was managed using the Waterfall methodology. After completing the requirements phase, I delivered the requirements to the client and that is when I learned that the client changed the entire scope of work and was willing to incur any contract modification penalties to ensure the new scope was implemented. It was then I knew that I had to find a better way to manage work that allows for frequent changes and produces a relevant and useful product to the client in a timely manner.
Who is the most influential woman you know? How do they inspire you? Aside from my mom, the late Supreme Court Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG) is one of the most influential women in my life. “I would like to be remembered as someone who used whatever talent she had to do her work to the very best of her ability” is one of my favorite RBG quotes. I enjoyed reading her autobiography and was moved to tears learning her history and all she overcame to achieve one of the highest positions in the United States. RBG lived such an exemplary life, that encourages/inspires me to strive for the best and achieve the best I can with what I have.
What advice did you receive from a woman that has stuck with you? Or what advice do you wish you could give your younger self? The advice I’d give my younger self is, be patient, do your best and remain positive. Everything will turn out right and you will be proud of your future self.
What’s one thing about you that your colleagues don’t know or have been surprised by when they find out? One thing my colleagues do not know is that I once considered a career in filmmaking after taking a film course in college titled “History of film.” I enjoyed the class so much and considered changing my major to filmmaking but quickly realized after taking some additional courses that watching and enjoying a film is far better than filmmaking.
What was it about Noblis, our mission, or our culture that influenced your decision to come work/stay here? I joined Noblis because it is a non-profit organization with a mission to invest in research and development programs and provide unbiased solutions for the benefit of its client. Furthermore, I choose to come work and stay at Noblis because it is a company with ample opportunity for career growth/development.
What is one of your proudest achievements at Noblis? How did this contribution support Noblis’ or your client’s mission? Since joining Noblis in March 2020, I have successfully led and continue to support the Agile implementation and migration for several work streams for my client. I am so proud of all I have been able to achieve in my short time on the project as I have seen significant growth in the project work, delivery and execution. My federal customer has been satisfied and continues to provide positive feedback, which is aligned to Noblis’ client mission.
What is your message to your colleagues about diversity, equity, inclusion and intersectionality? I encourage my colleagues to continue to support and speak up for what is right and fair to increase diversity, equity, inclusion and intersectionality because if we stay quiet, we cease to support and drive meaningful change and a culture of inclusion for ourselves and the future generation’s growth and success.
Emma started as a summer intern in 2018 and was hired as a full-time environmental engineer after graduation in May 2019. Since then, she has been supporting the Chemical and Material Risk Management Program in the Defense mission area for just over 1.5 years. She is grateful to work with other programs such as DoD’s SERDP and ESTCP, the U.S. Census and Noblis’ internal sponsored research program.
What made you pursue your field? Both my parents influenced me to some degree. My dad has been an aerospace engineer at NASA for 30 years and my mom is a chemistry teacher with 20 years’ experience. I got to see one of the Orion spacecraft launches in person with my dad and I could see the pride he and his fellow colleagues had for accomplishing this step that would eventually help man get to Mars. Growing up, I helped my mom in her chemistry lab and could tell that she truly loves her field. She would stop my brother and I to think more critically about how something works due to chemistry principles, for instance such as how a pot cover might stick to the countertop. I knew that I wanted to find a similar field that would give me the most gratitude. Chemical engineering was the field that I choose since I got to apply my love of math and science in ways that could be helpful for others.
Can you tell us about a pivotal point in your career? I have only been at Noblis for about 1.5 years, so this was a small pivotal point that helped me get more experience—I completed an impact assessment for the client and was asked to give a talk about it and the results at one of our Engineering Community of Practice (COP) meetings. It was well received, and a colleague reached out. A few months later, I was asked to pitch the internal research project idea to Noblis executives. We received funding for the project, and I was asked to remain as the lead researcher.
Who is the most influential woman you know? How do they inspire you? My Popo, or my grandmother, is easily the most influential woman I know. She immigrated into the United States from China in order to become a nurse and to help send money back to her family. She came to the U.S. without knowing any English and without any support, and she overcame those challenges and worked hard to become a nurse anesthetist.
What advice did you receive from a woman that has stuck with you? Or what advice do you wish you could give your younger self? Don’t be afraid to speak up. Engineering is a male dominated industry and that should not deter us from speaking up.
What’s one thing about you that your colleagues don’t know or have been surprised by when they find out? In college, I was the first female president for the American Institute of Chemical Engineering (AIChE) chapter at Trinity University. The club started two years before I started school and it disappeared for unknown reasons for one year. I was asked by the original chapter founder and professor to take the club over and rebuild it. During my tenure, I hosted multiple industry speaker events, organized lunches with professors so students could get to know our teachers better and started an annual internship panel to help students with their journey of trying to navigate the internship route. I also got around 20‒25 students safety certified through AIChE. Lastly, I was able to pitch and secure funding from the Student Government Association to get funding for four students to attend the Annual AIChE conference in Pittsburgh. Two of the students were able to present their research and the others were able to attend the President’s/Vice President’s meeting to represent the school. I am still involved with sharing opportunities with the club. Recently, I presented a talk with Regan, another Trinity grad and Noblis colleague, about federal consulting at Noblis to the engineering clubs.
What was it about Noblis, our mission, or our culture that influenced your decision to come work/stay here? During my internship I noticed that the company culture was very encouraging and supportive of individual growth. I decided to join full time since I believed in our mission and that we are doing our work for the right reasons and getting encouraged to do so.
What is one of your proudest achievements at Noblis? How did this contribution support Noblis’ or your client’s mission? My proudest moment was learning that I was going to be a first-time lead researcher for my Noblis Sponsored Research project. While the idea wasn’t mine, I was honored that they allowed me to lead the project.
What is your message to your colleagues about diversity, equity, inclusion and intersectionality? Celebrate diversity and being different than others. We all come from different backgrounds and have our own stories; all our experiences shape us into who we are.
Learn more about Noblis’ commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion here.