“When you understand each other’s background, you understand where they’re coming from, and then conversations and relationships are more meaningful,” said Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) physicist Elixia Ross. “Food, photography, and even language can help us see things we thought were unique to our culture and help us connect.”
Born and raised in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, Ross graduated from the University of Puerto Rico at Humacao with her bachelor’s degree in Applied Physics and Electronics. After graduating, she decided to travel to the United States to earn a master’s degree in astrophysics from Ball State University in Indiana. “When you drive from the airport to college and all you see is cornfields, you panic. But I knew I had to get out of Puerto Rico and see what else was there,” Ross recalled.
Ross moved to Dahlgren in 2017 after her husband was offered a contract position at the base. “He moved here as a contractor and I came with him because there were more opportunities in Virginia for me. When I got an offer from Dahlgren as well, I was so excited,” Ross said.
Ross currently works as a scrum master for the Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile Planning, Analysis and Research Directorate. As a scrum master, she makes sure her team members succeed and their needs are met. “I communicate with our product owner, the people who are in charge of the product and with my team so that we can realize the product,” Ross said.
Ross is also the technical point of contact for two Remote Telescope Control development contracts for the US Naval Observatory. “The other part of my job is to communicate with the contracting officer for the contracts we have contracts for, which is an initiative to help small businesses. I am therefore primarily the point of contact to ensure that all technical conversations take place and that all processes meet our standards. »
In his spare time, Ross expresses himself through cooking and photography. “I love cooking and making people enjoy what they cook and what they eat,” Ross said. “I want to know if they like it and if they would change anything, because it shows me how they really feel. For example, I know that one of my colleagues does not like things with mint and chocolate mixed, but another one doesn’t like chocolate.The fun for me is figuring out how I can make something they will enjoy.
Ross is also responsible for creating and managing the department’s photo contest to promote team cohesion and morale, which was essential in the past few years when team members couldn’t interact in person. .
Ross’ love for all things food and photography stems from his parents and upbringing in Puerto Rico. She credits her parents for raising her to embrace where she comes from and for encouraging her to learn more about other cultures. “My parents always had books and always encouraged me to watch National Geographic and read about all the different cultures to understand them,” Ross said. “You may have your own beliefs and opinions, but you also need to understand where others are coming from.”