Engineering Spotlight: Sheila N.

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Sheila N.

What is your role at Lockheed Martin?
I work with a group whose goal is to advance the craft of engineering at Lockheed Martin. We partner with programs to identify new solutions for complex engineering challenges.

 

Take a moment to imagine the complex engineering challenges that arise with our ever more sophisticated systems. More connections, more data, miles of wiring, thousands of interconnects, flexible missions. Yesterday’s engineering solutions just don’t cut it. Our group Engineers New Horizons and advances solutions that embrace complexity to ensure success. We focus on Agility, Connected Teams, and Adaptive Engineering that extends the Digital Thread.  Our best practices include: Agile & Collaborative Engineering, Model-based Systems Development, Advanced Integration and Test, and Secure Systems. My job, as Engineering Outreach lead, is to build 

 

relationships and reach across hundreds of sites to help define program partnerships.  I pull from my experiences as a Satellite Systems Engineer to help identify common complexity needs and point to potential solutions. 
  

What inspired you to pursue a career in engineering?

I was drawn to study science and engineering because I loved solving problems. I was especially good at math and one middle-school teacher challenged me to pursue the interest.  She wrote me a card that said, “I expect great things out of you and I expect you to keep pushing even when classes get tough.” That simple card was enough to spark my confidence for years to come! Upon graduating from college, I chose an engineering career at Lockheed Martin because of the sheer “wow factor” of our products. Fighter jets, satellites, and rockets are just cool! My 14 year career at Lockheed Martin has afforded the opportunity to grow professionally while being truly inspired by the products and services we bring to the world.  

 

 

What advice would you offer high school students considering a major in engineering?"
Break stereotypes! You don’t have to be an introverted science geek to be an engineer. Dare to be different. I am a girly, high heel-loving, loud, extroverted Puertorican. And I am an Engineer. As a matter of fact, I’m the first engineer in my family. And I’m proud to say that my younger sister is the second.

 

Describe a challenging moment you may have faced in college and how you got through it. 
I had a baby to care for while in college. My time was split between work, baby, and school.  Needless to say, I had a lot going on PLUS my curriculum was difficult. It was during this time that I failed an exam for the first time in my life. I was absolutely devastated!  I had a choice. Do I run and change my major (pick an “easier” degree) OR Do I pick myself up and recover from that “F”?  I remembered the message from the card I received as a kid, and it was clear that I was not quitting on engineering. No fear! I cut back my work hours, focused harder on school, learned from my peers, and finished my degree.  Fearless determination and encouragement from those you love will lead you to any achievement! 

What advice would you offer to college students seeking a career in engineering?
Keep at it! Don’t shy away from challenging classes. Get involved in industry projects, hands-on competitions, and learn from your friends. Also don’t underestimate the value of summer engineering internships (Psst - they just might lead to a great job offer!). 

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