Marissa admits she’s had an unusual—and straightforward— career path. As a high school student, she was “blown away” during a trip to the Kennedy Space Center and immediately knew she wanted to work in aerospace technology some day. With a bit more research, she set her sights on being an aerospace engineer at an industry-leading aerospace and defense contractor: Lockheed Martin. Marissa was hired as a student contractor, and after college graduation, as an engineer.
What kind of projects are you working on day to day?
Right now I create logistics and training solutions for the most advanced fighter jet in the world, the F-35. The software project that I work on manages the training for pilots and maintainers. It’s so cool to see how pilots are using our items out in the field and amazing to know I’m working on something so massive and so important.
That sounds like a lot of pressure for someone so young!
It is. One of the tasks I do now is automation testing. You pretty much write a piece of code, hit run, and it’ll do all your testing for you even if you’re not there. It’s a more modern and efficient method of testing, like a robot on the assembly floor. Working with these automated testing programs is a lot of responsibility, but I get a lot of support from senior engineers.
Do you feel you have good work-life balance?
Yes—that’s something I noticed even as a student contractor. If I had an exam coming up and needed to study, my managers told me to stay home and focus on school. Now as a full-time employee, we have this program called ex 9/80, where you work for four days a week, nine hours a day, and then get off every other Friday. It's nice, because you get longer weekends and more time to spend with family and friends.
How does Lockheed Martin support your professional growth?
For one, we all have mentors—mine is a systems engineer that I met on my first assignment. He started showing me the ropes and informally mentored me, and we just got along really well. Now it’s a formal mentoring relationship. Second, we have internal courses: Lockheed Martin offers onsite training courses on a particular subject, like working with radars. The company also offers tuition reimbursement if you want to get an advanced degree.
What makes Lockheed Martin stand out as an employer to you?
The abundance of job opportunities that exist and the diversity of projects you can work on. In Florida alone, there are several different business units.You have businesses that work on things like fire control, rotary and mission systems, missiles, guided systems, aeronautics, planes, training devices, space industries—the list goes on. I feel really secure in
the future of my career, being at a company like this, because my knowledge can easily transfer to different lines of business within Lockheed Martin, depending on how my interests or goals change.
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