Dr. Gretchen Rivera, Business Data Intelligence Manager at NSWC’s Panama City Division, earned her Bachelor of Business Administration in Statistics and Master of Public Health in Biostatistics from the University of Puerto Rico. She continued her education at Florida State University, where she earned her Master of Science and Ph.D. in biostatistics.
Rivera moved to Panama City Beach, Florida in 2013 and began working at Gulf Coast State College (GCSC), where she served as an Institutional Data Analyst. After three years, she was promoted to Director of Institutional Research and Strategic Planning and became a board member of Early Education and Care Inc., which she continues to serve on in her spare time.
In the fall of 2018, Rivera reached a career milestone by attending the GCSC Leadership Institute program. She realized that higher education was not her passion and began looking for a meaningful new career path where she could continue to develop her technical skills.
The realization of this passion began when she began her career at NSWC Panama City Division in 2020 as a Senior Data Analyst for Coastal Battlefield Reconnaissance and Analysis (COBRA). During her first year, she enjoyed discovering the technical mission of the command and being surrounded by scientists where technical discussions were fruitful. In this position, she evaluated the performance of the COBRA system and contributed to mission-critical documents. In 2021, Rivera found a new opportunity within the Corporate Business Office, allowing him to expand his skills as a business data intelligence manager.
In a collateral role, Rivera is vice chief of the command’s Hispanic employment program and mentors and inspires the next generation of scientists and engineers through the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) outreach program. .
“The collaboration between NSWC PCD departments, the opportunity to advocate for the Hispanic community and to see future scientists and engineers in the making, makes me want to get up in the morning,” Rivera said.
A local team of fourth-graders she mentored won two awards in the regional championship and placed eighth out of 40 teams in the First Lego League Challenge State Championship. She said she uses encouragement and emphasizes empathy and teamwork to motivate and inspire.
“I told the students that the success of my career was having the empathy that allowed me to be a good team player and a good leader,” Rivera said. “You can’t be a leader and have motivated employees if you don’t have empathy and if you don’t work well with others.”