ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND (APG), Md. -- Carmen Adrover, a physical scientist at the U.S. Army Chemical Materials Activity (CMA), supports CMA's responsibilities involving an international treaty to destroy chemical weapons. Here, she shares her thoughts on career, volunteerism and giving back as a leader in the Hispanic community.

What is your role at CMA?

Adrover: "At CMA, I serve as a technical specialist, project lead and subject matter expert in all matters related to training and chemical laboratory in the Center for Treaty Implementation and Compliance (CTIC), which is responsible for Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) implementation and compliance for all Army facilities. I also serve as the agency science, technology, engineering and mathematics coordinator, Special Emphasis Program Hispanic Employment Program Manager, and the CMA point of contact for Army Career Program 16. Before joining the CTIC team in 2014, I worked as a senior laboratory and monitoring technical advisor and project management scientist for the CMA monitoring office."

What do you like most about working for CMA?

Adrover: "Never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd end up working for such an amazing organization or doing the work we do. What I like most about my job at CMA is having the satisfaction that fulfilling our mission matters, not only for our nation, but globally. One can't help but to feel grateful to be part of something bigger than ourselves."

How long have you been with the organization?

Adrover: "I joined the activity in 2008 and have been with my CMA family for 11 years. Dec. 11, 2019 will be my 30-year anniversary working as a federal employee."

Where did you grow up?

Adrover: "I grew up in the town of Arecibo, Puerto Rico, located near the center of the northern coast of the island. My backyard was filled with palm trees, and I woke up every morning to a beautiful landscape of the Atlantic Ocean."

How did your career begin?

Adrover: "I attended the Mayaguez Engineering Campus at the University of Puerto Rico in 1980 when I was 16. I left school three years later to join my husband in the United States. Things do not always work out the way we plan, as it took me many years to finish my degree while working full time and raising two boys as a divorced parent. I started as a pre-med student, and although I always loved science, I personally had no desire to become a physician. I moved on to study education, realizing that science and teaching were my true passions. I always envisioned working with and training individuals in a laboratory environment. That proved to be an uphill battle since it took me so many years to finish my degree. In 2007, I graduated with a bachelor's degree in Environmental Science from Charter Oak State College, and I earned my master's degree in Environmental Policy and Management in 2011. I was blessed to meet people along the way who believed in me and afforded me the opportunities to fulfill my dreams."

What organizations do you volunteer with?

Adrover: "I am an active member of Team APG, and I assist each year with planning and coordinating the installation's National Hispanic Heritage Month event. I provide cultural displays from my personal collection so others can share in the history and beauty of Hispanic culture. I am also a lifetime member and vice president of the Maryland Tri-County Chapter of Federally Employed Women. We mentor middle school children at the Village at Lakeview Neighborhood Network Community Center in Edgewood, Maryland, support Habitat for Humanity Women Build events, and sponsor young women's education in Uganda through the AIDS Orphan Education Trust USA organization. It is important to reach out to our communities, either next door or globally, and find those places where we can be of most service. Our communities need our support, and everyone has a talent or resource they can share to make our communities a better place for everyone."

What motivates you to volunteer?

Adrover: "I feel we have a responsibility to give back to the community. As a child growing up in Puerto Rico, we had very little money or resources at our disposal. However, what little we had, we shared. We were always taught that it was our duty as citizens to help one another and to lift each other up so we could reach our true potential. That was never more evident than during the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in 2017."

What's one thing you'd like others to take away this National Hispanic Heritage Month?

Adrover: "This National Hispanic Heritage Month, I would like to invite everyone to reflect on this year's theme, "Hispanic Americans: A History of Serving Our Nation." During recent years, Hispanic Americans have been the subject of attacks where their loyalty and contributions to this country have been in question. The truth is that Hispanic Americans have served and continue to serve this nation as civil rights leaders, Supreme Court judges, politicians, educators, public servants, law enforcement, first responders, and pioneers in arts and sciences. The list of contributions is endless, as are the sacrifices of our military personnel. More than 17,000 active duty military personnel from Puerto Rico alone serve across the branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. This does not count all the generations of Hispanic Americans and their descendants who are currently serving, or those who have given their lives in service of this nation. Hispanic Americans are no different than other Americans who love, serve and would give their life for this country. I am so humbled to be one of those Hispanic Americans who serve, and my children, grandchildren and all generations to come will continue to serve our great nation with honor, compassion and love."

What's a fun fact about Carmen?

Adrover: "Well, I have to say that I am still a kid at heart. I still love cartoons and Disney movies. They are my favorite way to de-stress after a long day at a systematic inspection in support of CWC compliance."