In honor of volunteer appreciation month, we are delighted to spotlight our very own Kara Rajchel! Kara assists the Society of Military Spouses in STEM as our webmaster volunteer. She manages our members-only site as well as our public facing site and blog.
Where is your hometown (or where would you call home)?
A small town in Vermont!
Was there a special moment growing up that inspired you to pursue your STEM field?
I’ve always been interested in science, especially the natural sciences including biology and ecology as well as computers and technology.
What are your interests outside of the office or lab?
I’m a big PC gamer, and also love creative pursuits including but not limited to: drawing, painting, photography, fiber arts, and cooking/baking.
What degree(s) have you earned?
Bachelors of Science in Animal Science from the University of Vermont, Masters of Science in Information Technology from Southern New Hampshire University.
What is your current duty station? What do you enjoy most about this location?
RS Raleigh, I actually get to live in the same town as a family member. That’s never happened before!
What inspires you?
Learning new things and solving problems.
Who is your current employer?
Capgemini Government Solutions.
What is your official job title or career field?
I’m a Salesforce Administrator/Developer.
How does a typical day begin? What gets you out of bed in the morning?
What do you appreciate about your work environment?
My amazing team! Everyone is helpful and supportive of each other. It’s a great work environment.
What is one professional achievement you’re most proud of?
After years of hard work and struggle, I finally have the career of my dreams. I set a goal and accomplished it. It feels amazing after all that hard work.
What do you like most about your job?
I’m always learning something new!
What challenges have you personally faced that your civilian counterparts may not have?
I’ve spent the last 6 years overseas, and before that moved every 3 years. Makes it difficult to find any career continuity.
What advice would you give new spouses on entering or finding success in STEM career fields?
Be your own best advocate, and don’t give up. But do take time to rest in those times when you may feel like giving up. Also, there’s no such thing as a “safe” job choice—don’t settle.
What inspired you to volunteer with SMSS?
I wanted to connect with other military spouses in STEM and help others realize that STEM careers are viable for military spouses.
Do you have any go-to professional organizations, educational opportunities, job resources, or helping agencies that have supported your career growth?
Hiring Our Heroes has amazing fellowship opportunities. Hire Our Heroes U.S. also has great resources to help you practice interviewing, refine your resume, and more! Don’t underestimate the power of LinkedIn, it’s by far the place that has connected me with recruiters and interview opportunities while I was job searching.
Want to learn more about volunteering with the Society of Military Spouses in STEM?
Become a member!