Neysha Suarez-Quintero graduated in December 2016 with her degree in Spaceflight Operations and completed her Master of Science in Systems Engineering in December 2018 from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Daytona Beach campus. She currently works for Northrop Grumman Corporation Space Systems sector in Baltimore, Maryland.
Discuss how you obtained your current role and your main responsibilities with Northrop Grumman.
It’s been quite a journey to find a launchpad for my career! During Fall 2018, I attended the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers National conference and was interviewed/hired for an internship at the Baltimore Mission Systems campus. For my last summer term of my M.S. in Systems Engineering, I worked for the MQ-4C Triton program. Throughout my internship, I was given the opportunity to develop the procedure and systems requirements to sanitize and secure data collected after each flight. Towards the end of the internship, I was selected for a conversion offer into the Pathways Rotational program starting in early 2019.
Currently, I am in my second rotation as an Operations & Production Manager (OPM) for an antenna array program in the Space Systems division. In my role, I am tasked with supporting my current mentor at higher-level assembly activities; being a liaison between manufacturing and the program office; track hardware production progress; coordinate resource reallocation and availability with manufacturing; and maintain priority schedule for program. Working as an OPM has given me an amazing opportunity to, not only expand my network and join a dynamic team, but also to learn how to work with a variety of spacefaring hardware and development processes.
How did your involvement in student organizations/on campus employment while at ERAU help contribute to your success?
What I love about the student life at ERAU is that there are so many options that cater to everyone’s interests and provide a space for continuous growth within the community. Throughout the majority of my undergrad and graduate time at ERAU, I worked in the Housing & Residence Life department as a Housing Ambassador; and was an active member of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), Society for SPACE, and Spaceflight Sciences Policy and Operations Club (SSPOC). Every organization provided me with the opportunity to develop a strong set of skills and sense of teamwork applicable inside the classroom and internships; a supportive network of students and alumni that share the same interests in the Spaceflight industry; and valuable resources such as Career Services – which taught me how to create a solid resume, make my applications stand out from the crowd, and polish my interviewing skills to best land the job!
What are your future plans?
The thrill of Space exploration is what fuels my passion for STEM, so it would be an absolute dream to become an Astronaut! In the meantime, I am set to complete the Pathways Rotational program within the next year and become a permanent member of the Space Systems division at Northrop Grumman. My current role provides me with an exposure into the Project Engineering field; and I would like to continue building my career towards a Managerial direction where I can support directly the Space program customer, while also helping develop a strong team.
What advice do you have for current students to be successful in the job market?
During my time as a Housing Ambassador, I always encouraged future students to be involved with the campus life since day one! Besides keeping a competitive GPA, joining student organizations are excellent grounds for developing skills and experiences to become a well-rounded individual and reflect your potential in your resume. Also, make sure to join at least one professional organization in school and develop your network. There are many wonderful national chapters such as SHPE, NSBE, SWE, NBAA, and so much more to choose from! Those organizations host yearly national conferences where some of the top-ranking employers in the STEM field offer interview – and even hire students and alumni during the same event. Furthermore, those organizations have additional resources their members can apply for such as scholarships, fellowships, and professional workshops.
On a more personal level, always aim to step out of your comfort zone! Not only you’ll be surprised to discover what you’re capable of doing; but, also, you’ll be widening the array of opportunities to pursue. Most importantly, maintain a positive and patient attitude during the job-hunting process. Make sure your resume and cover letters are always up to date, use resources like Career Services to sharpen your professional persona; and, APPLY, APPLY, APPLY! You never know which job submission will be your lucky break!