Meet Essence: An Intern Finding New Ways To Enhance F-35 Program

“Being able to come up with my own measurement algorithm is something that I never would have thought I would be doing in this lifetime, but here I am doing it.” – Essence 

Essence is an intern working on the F-35 Lightning II aircraft. She helps her team with a variety of projects throughout the entire assembly line as a manufacturing engineer. She is driven by a passion to solve complex problems that arise in today’s day and age. We’ve asked her to share her experience at Northrop Grumman with us.

How’d you find yourself at Northrop Grumman?

Through my university, Alabama A&M, I came across an opportunity to apply for Northrop Grumman’s first Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Invitational. During this invitational we were not only able to build connections and network, but I was given an opportunity to interview for the role that I am in today. Following the interview I made sure to stay persistent and keep communication so that I would not miss out on this opportunity. Post conference I received a call and was offered my internship position.

What are you working on?

On my team, I am able to position myself into many different roles along the lines of project manager, technology enhancer, and data analyst which all fall under my big title as manufacturing engineer, in support of the F-35 aircraft. My intern project is to come up with a fastener flushness measurement method that could help the team with process improvement in the future. Fastener flushness is the process of being able to measure the top surface (plane) of the countersink fastener head and the very top surface of the aircraft structure panel. In other words, measuring the depth (flushness) of the countersink fastener to the surface panel.

For this project, I have been tasked to come up with my own unique measurement method that will help us to get more precise and accurate calculations. Figuring out a way to do this will make other tasks for the mechanics on the production floor easier. Eventually, I will be able to write my own macro coding script to help extricate the data.

How are you Defining Possible at Northrop Grumman?

I have been able to work on several projects with the ultimate goal being to find alternative approaches or to create the very first solution to a problem. In many ways, I have been given the chance to make a real impact on a team of real engineers. Looking into a problem that has not been solved yet, and getting the chance to do so as an intern, is what makes me excited to come to work each day. Northrop Grumman provides me with the challenges to be able to define possible.

How do your personal passions intersect with your work here? 

Being an engineer is a dream of mine, but being an Aerospace engineer is something I’ve never imagined. Being able to work on an aircraft that one could only imagine working on really makes me excited to come to work every single day. I find joy in learning new things, collaborating, and working on an amazing team.

Why do you enjoy working at Northrop Grumman?

What makes the team that I’m working on so special is that I get to see how science, technology and engineering all come together and work as one every day. Working on the F-35 team, we have to make sure that we have a great amount of computer science to support the data and engineering of each project. Using the numbers to make everything support one another and then using the supporting data to come up with the best new technology method to make the problems decrease.

How are you exploring the limits of possible?

Solving for what has never been done and exploring the limits of possible is something that is definitely real and true for me during my entire experience with Northrop Grumman. I’ve been given many opportunities with this company that have helped me grow in many ways. Working on things that I once believed to be impossible like creating my own measurement algorithm is something that I never would have thought I would be doing in this lifetime, but here I am doing it.


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