Aerospace Engineering Intern at Northrop Grumman Achieves New Heights

By Sarah Tagg

Meet Kirk Davis, an engineering intern and rising senior majoring in aerospace engineering at the University of Arizona. He’s applying his engineering skills at Northrop Grumman this summer on the Hunter Program in flight sciences and test engineering in Sierra Vista, Arizona.

Young man standing in front of small airplane
Kirk is an intern at the Northrop Grumman facility in Sierra Vista, Arizona. He works on the MQ-5B Hunter program, an unmanned aircraft. As part of the Flight Sciences and Test Engineering Team, he analyzes the data recorded during testing and normal flight.


Why did you want to intern at Northrop Grumman?

I applied because I was interested in working on large unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) like the Global Hawk and Triton, and I wanted to apply the engineering skills I learned in school to these complex UAV systems.

What program are you supporting?

I am interning for the Technology Services Unmanned Systems Integration Center on the Hunter Program in flight sciences and test engineering in Sierra Vista, Arizona.

What skills do you want to gain from this experience?

I hope to gain teamwork and technical skills by interacting with coworkers and learning all I can about the Hunter UAV through both data analysis and hands-on experience.

What energizes you at work?

I get most excited on days I get to go to the flight line where testing is conducted for the Hunter. There is so much to do and many people to learn from at the flight line. Every time I visit, I learn something new.

Young man using handheld mouse and Virtual Reality goggles to play on monitor screen
As an engineering intern, Kirk visited the Innovation Center, where he got to experience this VR simulation. It’s just one of many technology demos employees and interns can use to visualize our amazing systems.


What’s one of your favorite memories from your internship thus far?

Traveling to the Washington, D.C., area to attend the Intern Kickoff Event for Technology Services. I met so many amazing interns, and the intern executive team was very inviting and helpful.

What’s one aspect of your internship that has surprised you about working at Northrop Grumman?

One surprising aspect I learned is that you never know whom you could meet on any given day. For instance, when I traveled to the Washington, D.C., area for the Technology Services Intern Kickoff Event, I had the pleasure of meeting Chris Jones, a corporate vice president of Northrop Grumman and the president of Northrop Grumman Technology Services. The opportunity to speak with Chris and ask about his journey within Northrop Grumman was exciting and helpful, especially as an engineering intern soon to enter the workforce.

Likewise, at the Unmanned Systems Integration Center, we support most of the Hunter Program as well as other Northrop Grumman assets, so there are people working here with backgrounds ranging from business to communications to engineering. I love the days when I get to talk with aircraft maintainers, software engineers, program managers and other employees. I never thought working for such a large and prominent defense contractor would feel as tight-knit and welcoming as it has.

Young man standing in front of large camoflauged truck
Curious to know what sends commands to the Hunter UAV? Well here it is, the Ground Control Station (GCS). It’s filled with a bunch of interesting technology and the operators are great.

What are your plans after completing your internship?

I will be heading back to the University of Arizona to finish my senior year. I hope to come back to Northrop Grumman because I would love to continue working with UAVs! There are endless opportunities, and I cannot wait to see what lies ahead.

woman in blue clean suit

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