The Consultant, Elizabeth Hook-Rogers

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Spotlight on Hidden Physicists

The Consultant, Elizabeth Hook-Rogers


Senior Consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton

Elizabeth Hook-Rogers. Photo courtesy of Hook-Rogers.I graduated from Rhodes College in 2011 with a bachelor’s in physics and am now a senior consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton. I support the Earth Science Division onsite at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC, where I live with my wife and our cat, Wallace.

When I went to college, I planned to be a history major, but I also joined my school’s SPS chapter. One of the Rhodes physics professors noticed my interest and how much I loved doing outreach, and she helped convince me to become a physics major. Since then I’ve worked in science programs and science communication (including for SPS!).

Today, in my role as senior consultant, I’m a High-End Computing (HEC) Program support lead and Research and Analysis (R&A) Program support scientist. I split my time evenly between the two programs. In my work for R&A, I keep track of many of NASA’s activities with other federal agencies, as well as international activities. As an example, when the International Panel on Climate Change drafts climate reports, the group often asks for NASA comments. My job is to contact our expert researchers to see if they have comments, then pass them along. My role in the HEC program is to support the program manager. This can involve attending meetings and taking notes, helping to keep track of special projects and coordinating with the internal teams supporting them, and helping to draft strategic plans for the program.

The job can be challenging because I work with a lot of people, and when you collaborate with someone, it’s important to learn their communication style to be most effective. It takes a little bit of time, but especially for every new project, it’s worth figuring out. I also spend a good amount of time in meetings, which can make it hard to get work done! My colleagues are required to be at a lot of meetings too, so even if I’m not attending one, I might need something from someone who is.

My job can be fast-paced at times and can also take a lot of focus. In earth science we’re dealing with climate change on a daily basis, and sometimes the science results we see and work with can be overwhelming. It’s important to me to balance work and relaxation. I love living in DC. There’s so much to do and so many great restaurants and people. In non-COVID times, I’ve also loved going to musical theater performances; we have a thriving theater scene here. I’m originally from Nashville, Tennessee, which has a very different vibe from DC, and I like living in a city that’s bigger but not too big.

Throughout my career, I’ve also been involved with LGBTQ+ employee resource groups, and I’m passionate about inspiring women and girls to pursue their interests in STEM. I’ve made it a priority to participate in mentoring opportunities with students from middle school to college. I’ve participated in Adopt-a-Physicist, and I’ve also been a pen pal and have had coffees and meetings with interns at NASA.

My advice to undergraduate physicists: You don’t have to go to graduate school immediately (or ever!). I didn’t, and I’ve found being in the workforce to be truly valuable and enjoyable. The structure of school (including academia) just isn’t how I learn best, and that’s okay. School is extremely important, but it isn’t the be-all–end-all.

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