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Marcey L. Hoover


M.S. 1993, Ph.D. 1995

Manager, Strategic Planning & Laboratory Leadership Team

Written by: Meghan Honerlaw, M.S. candidate in Statistics

As a doctoral student at Purdue, Marcey L. Hoover did not aspire to work for a national laboratory. "I was sitting in my office one day at Purdue when a Sandia recruiter walked in and asked if I had ever heard of Sandia labs," Hoover recalled. "The answer was no! However, I had heard of the manager of the statistics department (Rob Easterling). They asked me to come out for an interview and I fell in love with Sandia and Albuquerque after my first visit."

Hoover started at Sandia National Laboratories, one of the Nation’s nuclear weapons laboratories, as an applied statistician in 1995. One of her projects involved actively working with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to evaluate aviation safety data, to analyze safety inspection work processes, and to develop system safety concepts. "After several years providing statistical consultations to the engineering staff at Sandia, I became interested in more broad systems engineering applications and subsequently moved out of the statistics group," she said.

Hoover then became the Manager of Stockpile Evaluations for bombs, cruise missiles, and non-nuclear components at Sandia. In this role, her organizations were responsible for statistically sampling weapons from the nation’s nuclear stockpile, conducting tests in a laboratory or flight environment, analyzing the data, and investigating any anomalies disclosed by the data. The testing and investigation, in coordination with other assessment and certification efforts, helped to ensure the health and performance of the overall stockpile. In 2004, Hoover became an inaugural member of a project on nuclear issues that was sponsored by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).  "Through this effort, I interacted with prominent nuclear policy experts and was responsible for delivering multiple talks to high-ranking officials within the Departments of Defense and Energy," Hoover said. 

Hoover is currently the Manager of the Strategic Planning & Laboratory Leadership Team (LLT) at Sandia National Laboratories. In this role, Hoover is responsible for coordinating and facilitating the executive management team meetings on strategy and management of the Laboratories, authoring and maintaining the institution’s strategic plan, and overseeing the management of the corporate objectives, goals, and milestones. In 2008 Hoover created a modified scenario-based planning approach for use in strategic planning at the corporate level of Sandia National Laboratories.  This approach was broadly accepted and applied through many working sessions with the laboratory president and the entire team of vice presidents to refine and focus the corporate strategy. 

Hoover’s time at Purdue prepared her well for her career at Sandia. "My degree provided the necessary credentials to hire into a national laboratory and my time working within the Purdue Statistical Consulting Service provided the practical experience necessary to fulfill the requirements of the assignments," she said. "I worked as a consultant in the service with numerous clients. Some of the more memorable were some nutrition related projects (ADHD children), Food and Beverage studies with the Hotel and Restaurant department, and working with some of the psychologists in the speech department. After a year of normal project work, I spent more of my time helping George [McCabe] with programmatic things (writing the summary report that was published) and helping newer students. It was the best experience of graduate school and prepared me better for life in the ‘real world’ than any class!"

Also valuable for Hoover’s decision on a future career was her experience as an intern. "I interned a couple of summers with General Motors. I also used data for my Ph.D. thesis from Eastman Chemical. Both of these experiences indicated that a national lab, with more of a balance between academia and private industry, was a good match for me!"

As a student at Purdue, Hoover remembers fondly, "the time spent interacting with an ethnically and culturally diverse graduate student population.  The opportunity to learn from those raised abroad and introduce them to American cultures was a highlight - memories remain of sampling ‘unique’ foods such as Russian borscht, learning the traditions of Asian celebrations of the Harvest Moon, and teaching others how to make fine American desserts!" 

These gastronomical memories of Purdue are an example of another passion of Hoover’s.  She says, "As an amateur chef, I am often found in the kitchen where my love of cooking is enjoyed regularly by family and friends."  Beyond her culinary capabilities, Hoover enjoys mountain biking; "riding daily in the high desert and mountains of New Mexico."  Not only does she bike and cook, Hoover enjoys volunteering and mentoring young female engineers and working with her own two young children’s sports and school activities.

To current Statistics students, Hoover advises, "I believe that the truly successful statisticians are ones that can knowledgeably converse and translate technical questions/issues into a statistical setting. Thus, gaining experience by studying other fields and collaborating with other researchers will help to sharpen these skills. Also, confidence in public speaking and presenting oneself can have a tremendous impact on one’s effectiveness. As such, I would encourage statistics students to take the opportunity to discuss, present, and defend their work in public forums."

For more information on the Sandia National Laboratories, visit http://www.sandia.gov.

Marcey L. Hoover received the Statistics Outstanding Alumni Award from Purdue University, Department of Statistics in 2009.

To read more Alumni Profiles, please visit our Alumni Profiles archive.

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