Women in STEM Pushing Boundaries and Changing the World

women standing in front of missile protection system

Women in STEM: Pushing Boundaries and Changing the World

Female representation in STEM is important — not simply for balance but because the unique perspectives and experiences of women can drive the development of novel approaches and new techniques that help define the future of possible. At Northrop Grumman, we’re committed to helping women in STEM push boundaries and blaze new trails.

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Essentials of a STEM Career

STEM careers require more than skill: They require passion, determination and creativity. And while women have these qualities in spades, historic processes, policies and cultural perceptions have often kept women away from pursuing STEM jobs.

But the needle is moving because talented and determined women are joining the innovative companies who recognize the importance of diversity in STEM careers.

Consider Mariel: Born in Mexico City, she moved to the United States when she was seven and found solace from culture shock in astronomy. “All of my teachers really celebrated my math and science skills and my curiosity,” she says. “As a third grader, I knew I wanted to explore space and build rockets. At that age, I used to tell my parents when I grew up I was going to work for NASA.”

Her passion for exploration and her mastery of subject material put Mariel at the top of her class in school and got her noticed by Northrop Grumman in 2006. Now, she’s a systems engineering manager at our campus in Redondo Beach, California.

Mariel has been reaching for the stars from an early age, blazing her own trail to an engineering career at Northrop Grumman.

Read more: Blazing Her Trail
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Teamwork and Mentoring: What It Means to Be a STEM Player

Cooperation drives innovation. Committed and connected teams are critical for STEM projects to get off the ground, overcome potential roadblocks and challenge the status quo. For many women in STEM, this is familiar ground: Defying the status quo is often a defining characteristic of their career. But it takes more than determination to be a team player — there’s also substantive benefit in exploring the journeys of those who have gone before.

This is the role of mentoring at Northrop Grumman. For more than 50 years, the Highschool Involvement Partnership (HIP) program has been connecting our experts with their up-and-coming STEM colleagues to help nurture the next generation of talent.

Read more: Teaching Through Fellowship
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Reflections on Careers (and Pitfalls to Avoid)

Tina is always looking for new challenges and opportunities. As a surveillance and electromagnetic warfare (EMW) operations program manager, she has an opportunity to develop technology that could help keep her family safe — and she’s looking forward to her next challenge with the company. But this isn’t Tina’s first time with Northrop Grumman. She originally started as an operations program manager in 2008, but after five years, she wasn’t sure where to go next. A call from an old employer led her to a new position with increased responsibilities.

But in 2013, everything changed. With a new baby at home, work-life balance became critical, so Tina reapplied for a role at Northrop Grumman. The result? Flexibility and forward motion. Tina can be there for her family while also exploring a wealth of STEM opportunities.

Read more: Returning to Northrop Grumman
Lori Hickman

Awards and Recognition

While awards and recognition aren’t the primary drivers of STEM careers, it certainly helps to be recognized for your work. For Karen “Lori” Hickman, a program cost schedule and control analyst at Northrop Grumman, this took the form of the 2021 BEYA (Black Engineer of the Year Award) Community Service in Industry Award. This award recognized her contributions to the field through more than 1,000 hours of community service and volunteering. Four other women from Northrop Grumman were also honored at the 2021 BEYA ceremony.

Read more: Northrop Grumman’s Lori Hickman Honored at 2021 Black Engineer of the Year STEM Global Competitiveness Conference

We All Benefit from Having Diverse Teams

From supercomputers to systems engineering, custom ASIC chips and augmented reality, female engineers and scientists at Northrop Grumman are changing the world. Equipped with cutting-edge STEM skills and passion to change the world, women are a driving force in our mission to define possible and discover what comes next.

But it doesn’t stop there. Our female staff bring a unique perspective to Northrop Grumman teams. By cultivating creative conversations, they may turn old ideas on their head or take entirely new approaches to existing operational frameworks.

Put simply? A bright part of our future is female — and we’re proud to be on the front lines empowering and supporting the work of women in STEM.

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A Bridge Between Service and the Civilian World

SkillBridge Provides Northrop Grumman Internships to Those Still on Duty

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Meet Janet: An Aeronautics Guidance, Navigation and Controls Engineer

Guidance, navigation and controls engineer, Janet Todd, is a shining example of determination, problem solving and persistence. 

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The First of Her Family

Gabby, manager, process improvement in El Segundo, has achieved many firsts for her family.