Asmita Patel

November 20, 2023

Asmita Patel, the Deputy Division Director, Operations for the Lab’s Accelerator Technology & Applied Physics Division, is a proud military mother and active Veterans Employee Resource Group member. In this interview, she shares how being the parent of an active duty service member influences her work with veteran outreach and what Veterans Day means to her.

How does your experience as a parent to a service member inform the way you work? 

With my son in the military, I have become increasingly aware of the challenges service members and families with members in the military face and the sacrifices they make.  I want to do my part to support veterans and active duty service members. This is why I joined the Veteran’s ERG and became a member of its Outreach Subcommittee. The subcommittee works on outreach efforts that target veterans, such as participating in career fairs and posting open positions at the Lab on military websites. Our goal is to promote these efforts via social media channels to create awareness of our activities, and are developing strategies to help retain veterans by providing them with the resources and support needed for their successful integration at the Lab.  

What would you want others to know about the experience of having a service member in your family?  

Like other families with military members, I have become accustomed to often not knowing where they are or what they are doing; or whether they are in a safe place or in harm’s way.  While this fear of the unknown can be tough, I have learned that dwelling on such thoughts can sometimes be consuming, so I focus on making the best when I have an opportunity to speak to him. To make the most of this time, I keep a notepad with three things I want to talk to him about when we speak. In-person visits are difficult to plan as they can be changed or canceled at short notice, depending upon his schedule.  

My advice to other parents is to be proud and supportive of their family member’s decision to join the military and focus on why they chose this path. They go through intensive training, which teaches them various skills that benefit them while in the service and are equally important for life in general.  

What does Veterans Day mean to you?  

It is a day to honor our military personnel who have served our nation and are currently serving. Now that my son is in the military, I am more conscious and aware of the many sacrifices members make in service to our country. It is true that “we enjoy our freedom because of the sacrifices of our military personnel and their families." I have come to appreciate that our military secures our freedom and safety in times of peace and conflict. I have a deeper appreciation and respect for service members and always thank them when I encounter someone, even if I do not know them.  

I think more about our veterans, their sacrifices in previous conflicts, and their service during peacetime. I have also become cognizant of the difficulties veterans face when leaving military service and transitioning to civilian life. This was a strong motivating factor for my decision to join the Veterans ERG because I want to help with outreach efforts to recruit veterans to Berkeley Lab. Together, I hope we can continue to foster a work environment that welcomes veterans as they transition to civilian jobs.  

Asmita and her son when he was a child

Are you a veteran or supporter of veterans? The Veterans Employee Resource Group is open to all employees, veteran or civilian.