Meet Maggie Schweihs. Maggie is from a cute little town called Galena, IL, though she often claims Wisconsin as “home.” She has a B.S. in Mathematics, and M.S. in Data Science. She is currently located in Camp Lejeune, NC and works for an automotive manufacturer as a Data Scientist. She likes to stay active outside of the office and take her dog on really long walks and hikes as often as she can. She runs with an incredible group of women in the Stroller Warriors Running Club on base. She has also been practicing yoga for about 10 years and in 2020 she will be training to become a yoga teacher! When she’s not dragging her family on long walks, they like to play board games, card games and watch movies.
Tell us an interesting story about growing up that is related to your field of work.
I am passionate about mathematics and data science now, but when I was in 4th grade, I was so frustrated learning fractions that I cried. I think a lot of people have experiences like this that make them have strong feelings against mathematics. I think it’s really important that we are patient when teaching kids math and work to show them multiple ways of thinking about problems so that they can find something that clicks.
What do you enjoy about your current duty station?
We are very close to the Atlantic Ocean and several beaches!
What inspires you?
I am inspired by nature. The field of mathematics exists because of our desire to make sense of the world around us.
What do you appreciate about your work environment?
I work remotely, from home. It is an amazing scenario for me as a military spouse because my job will travel with me to the next duty station. Between phone calls and video conferences, I don’t feel separate from the team at all. And I get to hang out with my dog all day!
What do you like most about your job?
My favorite thing about being a data scientist is that I can work with subject matter experts and apply my skillset to solve problems in any field. People are doing some revolutionary things with data, so I enjoy listening to podcasts, reading blogs and staying up to date with the latest buzz.
What challenges have you personally faced that your civilian counterparts may not have?
I joined the Wisconsin National Guard and became a Signal Officer as a single mother. My son and I both had to be very adaptable to juggle work, drill, sports, etc. This usually meant waking up at 5am, leaving the house at 5:30am, and getting home at 5:30pm or later if there were extracurriculars. Now, I am a military spouse and the challenges are similar. The military isn’t touted for it’s work/life balance. My spouse works long hours and is frequently in the field. It can be very challenging to adjust the schedule and routine for everyone in the house when training and deployments happen.
How do you see being a military spouse or being in the military space has helped you with your job?
Having military experience allows me to quickly jump in and take action on tasks. I don’t shy away from a challenge. It is common place as a military spouse or a military member to need to “figure it out” or “make it happen” which essentially boils down to assessing a situation and taking initiative to get the job done.
What do you wish people knew about life in the military?
Life in the military is a roller coaster. I think it is impossible to judge from the outside. Prior to being a military spouse, even as someone with military experience, I had no idea what I was getting myself into!
What advice would you give to new spouses about being in the STEM career field?
Engage the community! Envision what your career might look like as a military spouse, whether it is via remote work or via specific duty assignments. Work with your spouse and learn what their career path looks like and consider how different career scenarios and duty stations will affect your plans. Encourage your spouse to get educated on the myriad of opportunities in the military so that you can work together to balance both careers.