Ismael joined MCB in December 2022 as a Program Specialist

What is your educational background?
Prior to working at NSF, I graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park with a degree in film theory/studies. Before that, I moved around a lot and attended various high schools. I went to Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt, Maryland for a year, then I went to Hall High School in West Hartford, Connecticut, and I graduated from Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, MD.

When did you start working for MCB and what was your first week like? 

I started working for MCB about a month ago. My first week was not extremely busy on the workload front as I was more focused on onboarding, training, and meeting my new team. Within the first week I felt like I was able to connect with several different professionals who thrive in their fields from admin staff to program directors and science specialists.  

What has surprised you most about working at NSF? 

What has surprised me most about working at NSF is the culture and how happy many people are to work here. Prior to MCB, I was in the NSF Office of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure and even though these are different divisions I hear the same thing everywhere I go. “This is the best place I have ever worked” and “I love NSF.” It is great to be in a place where people are hardworking but also enjoy the work that they do and the mission that they serve. 

When friends or colleagues find out that you work at NSF, what do they say or ask? 

Given the fact that I was not a STEM major in college, whenever I tell my buddies from undergrad where I work, they are in shock. Everyone wants to know if I am overseeing NASA projects or working on supporting breakthroughs in military technology. To that I usually respond “not quite” but I find it amusing that they imagine me in a mad scientist role.   

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