Today we profile Jennifer Iskra, a systems engineer matrixed to the Joint Project Manager for Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Contamination Avoidance (JPM-NBC CA). She is currently on a six-month assignment in a surety laboratory with the Applied Detection Technology Laboratory in the Engineering Test Division.
Tell us about your assignment in the surety laboratory.
In this assignment, I have the opportunity to test chemical detection equipment in various stages of maturity, from prototypes to fielded systems. I also assist in collecting data regarding how equipment performs against certain chemicals and under various environmental conditions. This is my first experience working in a chemical laboratory environment, so the work is very different from what I do in the JPM, but it is both challenging and fun. My job in the JPM is as a systems engineering, taking equipment through the acquisition process. I focused on planning the tests associated with that process. This assignment has given me a better understanding of the methods behind how test data is generated and how it is provided to the customer. I plan to apply what I learn in this assignment to the work the JPM is doing on the Next Generation Chemical Detection program, as well as other projects within the JPM.
What are the benefits of this role for both ECBC and the JPM-NBC CA?
This experience helps to share knowledge between both organizations. ECBC will gain a better understanding of one of their customers, the JPM; and the JPM will gain a deeper understanding behind the test methods employed to generate their data. The JPM has also had someone from an ECBC surety lab in my position while I am on the developmental assignment that is experienced in testing and is helping strengthen that knowledge in the JPM.
What have you learned about customer service in this role? Why is customer service important to ECBC?
The Engineering Directorate at ECBC is a very customer-focused organization. In this role, I get to see how the laboratory interacts with their customers throughout the entire testing process. I have learned that it is not only important to get results to the customer quickly, but to ensure that they understand the data and how it was generated. Additionally, the laboratory is able to quickly adapt to changes in test plans, which is important to their customers.
What are your favorite hobbies or activities outside of work?
I am currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Bioengineering from the University of Maryland. In my free time, I enjoy volunteering at the Humane Society of Harford County, walking and socializing dogs, and fostering kittens until they can be adopted. I also love to golf and create stained glass art.