REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (Aug. 24, 2021) – Picture obtaining your Ph.D. after years of hard work. Then being told that you were chosen to lead your fellow Auburn University graduates into the ceremony as a student marshal. Then finding out your boss was in the crowd.
That was the situation in which newly-minted Dr. Brittany Griffin recently found herself. And knowing U.S. Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center Director Jeff Langhout, he was cheering extra loud for one of the center’s own.
Griffin has spent the last decade as part of the DEVCOM Aviation & Missile Center team, working in dynamics and acoustics. So when it came time to decide on a dissertation, she knew where to focus her research.
“A lot of sensors that we use here at work are used commercially,” Griffin said. “For example, a cell phone has sensors that will tell you if your phone is tilting or something like that. But, if you hold your phone up to a speaker at a rock concert, those sensors do not work so well. There’s a known problem where MEMS sensors subjected to high-frequency acoustic noise have inaccurate or bad outputs. My research was to design a packaging that would go around the sensor to mitigate that noise.”
But Griffin did not want to concentrate on one specific sensor because, true to the Army way of thinking, versatility is always a desired objective when designing capabilities for the Warfighter.
“I started looking at metamaterials – a fancy word for materials that have properties not found in nature. My metamaterials took the loud sound and then I created a series of perforated nozzles and interconnected cavities to create a maze. When the sound went through that maze it lost a lot of energy so when it got to where the sensor was, it was substantially quieter.”
In addition to her doctoral degree, Griffin also will earn two patents from her research.
Griffin, a self-professed Air Force brat, is always ready for a challenge. All of those organization emails that employees usually scan and delete without thought? Griffin gives them a thought - and that open-mindedness led to her spending a year in Germany on a developmental assignment. In fact, that is how the seed of obtaining a doctoral degree grew – from an AvMC email advertising a path for employees interested in furthering their education.
“My supervisors have always been supportive of my, ‘Hey, I saw this weird program and I want to be involved,’” Griffin said with a laugh.
Although Griffin said that she does intend to slow down now that her degree is in hand and restart her woodworking hobby - and tend to some neglected plants at home – she is once again starting a new challenge. Griffin accepted a new position at AvMC working with the Javelin Close Combat Missile System program. But wherever she might find herself, she plans to keep opening those emails. Which meshes with the advice she would give to those just starting their careers - when opportunity arises, don’t let “no” be the automatic response.
“Lean into it - and it will be as exciting as you want it to be.”
The DEVCOM Aviation & Missile Center, headquartered at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the Army’s research and development focal point for advanced technology in aviation and missile systems. It is part of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM), a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Futures Command. AvMC is responsible for delivering collaborative and innovative aviation and missile capabilities for responsive and cost-effective research, development and life cycle engineering solutions, as required by the Army’s strategic priorities and support to its Cross-Functional Teams.