My name is Vani Rodriguez and I am an electrical engineer working for the Concept Development and Integration Laboratory (CDIL) at the Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division (NAWCTSD) in Orlando, FL. CDIL is a research and development lab that specializes in interoperable live to virtual communication technology used in the Live, Virtual, Constructive (LVC) training environment. As an electrical engineer working for a government lab, I wear many hats. My primary role is to develop, design and test hardware systems but I also take on project lead duties and write proposals for future capabilities to assist the fleet with their training mission.
I also wear the ‘Mom hat’ outside of my career. I am the mother to two curious little girls: Eliana, age six, and Sarina, age two. Being a working mother is very challenging, but NAVAIR has made it a gratifying experience. On a high level, NAVAIR prioritizes work-life balance and it trickles down to employees like me. I have a wonderful supervisor and work family, all of whom are very supportive of my busy lifestyle. The FLEX schedule that NAVAIR allows means I can prioritize my children’s needs and still be a leader in my career field.
COVID-19 has impacted my family like most families during the past few months. We have added new stresses to our life, but my priority remains on keeping my children and loved ones safe and healthy. NAWCTSD has removed the stress of worrying about job security and accomplishing project goals that so many other employees are struggling with in other career sectors. With the encouragement of my leadership and the transition to the virtual workspace I can still accomplish everything I would have in the CDIL lab space. Even as I wear another hat of homeschooling a first grader, NAWCTSD leadership has continued to push me to thrive and succeed as both an electrical engineer and a mother.