Kimberly Hernandez

Photo of Kimberly Hernandez.
I really like that I'm able to work in the sweet spot of designing something and then seeing my designs built, tested, integrated onto an aircraft, and then flown to carry out its mission.

Why did you join the Laboratory?

I joined Lincoln Laboratory in September of 2021, right after finishing undergrad. What drew me in to join was the type of work because I wanted to deal with embedded hardware. A cool fact about my group, the Tactical Defense Systems Group, is that we own two of the Laboratory's Gulfstream IV jets. Since joining the Laboratory, I have been working on integrating sensors and instrumentation onto our new aircraft platforms to conduct radio frequency and infrared research.

What are your duties for that project?

I am actually in charge of overseeing a handful of projects in the integration effort, mostly designing and routing engine power, doing aircraft wiring, and installing nitrogen and cooling systems, all while making sure the interfaces of both aircrafts are identical. This means that I get to work with a lot of different pools of staff members — technicians, engineers in my group, Flight Test Facility staff, the Engineering Division, and external engineers, etc. It has taught me a lot about how to lead a group, communicate better, and to make sure I give the right materials to the right staff and provide the guidance and help they need in order to keep chugging along to meet our deadlines.

I never really expected to be doing something like this so soon with my experience level, but it's been great because I have a lot of support from the staff that I'm working with. I have definitely gained the confidence and motivation required to make sure our group continues to fulfill our mission.

Are you looking forward to when the jets finally fly?

Definitely, and I will get to fly as an operator! Can't wait to have all of our pods integrated and get the opportunity to collect data.