Reinventing Larsha

By Suzanne Kubler

female and male smiling

Electrical Engineer Larsha is a single mom. And for her, it’s the single most important role of her life — a life that was changed by a simple question from her son, Noah.

When Noah was 11, he came home from school and asked if he could attend robotics camp. At the time, Larsha was balancing her job assembling parts with raising her son, sometimes taking on temporary work to make ends meet.

Noah’s interest in robotics reminded Larsha of the joy she had experienced building her first circuit board when she was 7. Growing up, Larsha hadn’t pursued her passion for engineering — she hadn’t even know that career path existed. Navigating higher education had been challenging, she said, because her mom hadn’t graduated from high school and couldn’t provide insight into that process.

This trip down memory lane reinvigorated Larsha’s interest in engineering, sparking her decision to reinvent her life and career by going back to school.

“I thought, ‘Wow! Engineering is a way for me and Noah to bond, and it’s something I’ve been passionate about since I was a kid,’” said Larsha.

The Pivot Point

Larsha enrolled in a two-year program to earn her associate degree in computer engineering technology. She and Noah, who was in fifth grade, then started connecting through engineering.

“On the weekends, I would teach Noah about components and ask him if he had any projects he wanted to design,” said Larsha. Noah’s responses ranged from digital counters and flashlights, to asking if they could build a calculator.

“I made my transition work, but it wasn’t easy. Helping others find their path earlier in life is my goal and, if it also helps parents connect and grow closer with their kids, like it did for me, it’s a win all the way around.”

— Larsha, Electrical Engineer

Larsha said it was a fun but busy time. She was a full-time mom, a full-time student and held a full-time job.

“It was really hard,” she said. “I look back and wonder when I slept. I pushed through being a parent and being the sole provider as a full-time student. I would take classes in the morning, during the day or at night — whatever it took.”

The Path to Northrop Grumman

As Larsha finished her program, one of her professors encouraged her to continue her education and earn her bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. Larsha thought it was good advice and, in 2016, she enrolled at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida.

“Engineering has been a lifelong love. My passion continues to grow as I learn more,” she said.

While earning her degree, Larsha stopped by a resume session with a Northrop Grumman recruiter who encouraged her to attend an upcoming career fair. For the following two summers, Larsha interned with Northrop Grumman in Melbourne, Florida. Larsha graduated in December 2021; she is the only one of her six siblings to have earned a college degree. She was then hired as a full-time electrical engineer supporting the E2-D program.

“I love working for Northrop Grumman because there are so many opportunities to explore, and you can learn so many skills here,” said Larsha. “That means a lot to me because I enjoy a good challenge.”

Full Circle

Larsha now helps others find their STEM path early in life by mentoring students.

When she started coaching kids in engineering in 2019, she searched for a way to teach them with actual hardware, instead of toy-like tools. Such a system didn’t exist, so Larsha created one, building a crab-shaped circuit board. Now, she creates circuit boards in many fun shapes for kids, hoping to influence as many as she can to go into STEM-related fields.

“I made my transition work, but it wasn’t easy. Helping others find their path earlier in life is my goal and, if it also helps parents connect and grow closer with their kids, like it did for me, it’s a win all the way around,” she said.

Today, her son Noah is more focused on biomedical engineering than electrical engineering, said Larsha, but their STEM-inspired connection is still intact.

“He and I continue to share a mother and son bond ignited by science,” said Larsha.

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