Meet Arlanda: Defining Possible Through Designing, Testing, and Analyzing

Can you tell us about how you found your way to Northrop Grumman?

During my undergraduate career at Grambling State University, I attended various conferences such as the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and Black Engineer of the Year Awards (BEYA). My senior year of college, I was awarded the Black Engineer of the Year Student Award for Community Service during the 2019 BEYA Conference. The next day during the career fair, I was interviewed and hired.

African american female posing between columns

What you are working on?

My current role at Northrop Grumman is an Electrical Engineer in the Pathways Program. I am working on a design team that is responsible for designing, testing, and analyzing data of Monolithic Microwave Integrated Circuits (MMICs). An MMIC is a small circuit that contains active, passive, and interconnected components and designs to operate at frequencies from MHz to GHz.

Have you experienced a defining moment here?

My very first task at Northrop Grumman was to test Super-Lattice Castellated Field Effect Transistor (SLCFET) switches. These are transitory structure based switches that are designed and manufactured using cutting-edge technology to be incorporated into an entire system, like an antenna. It was amazing to find out that during my first year with the company, I played a role in the development of a process and technology that has the potential to be a total game changer. I know that when I discover my own game changing idea, Northrop Grumman will support me and provide me with all the materials that I need.

How do your passions intersect with your work? 

Northrop Grumman provides me with the ability to experience and observe different roles. I enjoy hands-on work where I can design, build, test and analyze data of products. Northrop Grumman embraces the fact that I am an Engineering nerd and helps me to put my passions to work.

Northrop Grumman is an engineering, technology, and science focused company. Can you share an example of when you saw all three came together?

A great example of science, technology and engineering overlapping is in the use of mounting MMICs onto fixtures. The science behind this project is knowing what materials will bond and heat the chips onto the fixture, gold for example works the best. MMICs are so small that they can only be seen under a microscope and are manufactured using a specific technology. Even though the chips are small, each MMIC can include a number of components. This is where engineering is required, to ensure that the design of all of the parts in the chip are functioning in accordance to the requirements of each individual component.

At Northrop Grumman, we are Defining Possible every day. Do you feel that this is true for your work?

This is very much true for me. The SLCFET technology was created at Northrop Grumman and the people who developed the idea are still present in its growth and will become a namesake of the company. I have been able to play a part in testing SLCFET switches’ ability to function with varying power inputs as well as pushing it to its limit to see its breaking points. We noted where and how the switches failed and provided the information to designers to make them more efficient and work better under different circumstances.