Driven by opportunity
These women are making their mark as engineers in the defense industry
It's a field that's full of opportunity.
Kristin Sundberg, Ivonne May and Isis Roche-Rios are all engineers at Raytheon. They see their careers as gateways to innovation, exploration and achievement. The work gives them access to the frontiers of technological development, and each is making a mark.
Take Sundberg, for example. A systems engineer, she developed a way to use copper cold spray, a process that deposits a fine, high-quality layer of metal onto a surface, to improve the reliability of Raytheon's Patriot Integrated Air and Missile Defense System.
“Your idea is only an idea unless you do something with it,” she said.
What she did was to turn her idea into a real asset for the U.S. Army and Navy. Sundberg won more than $200,000 to fund research into the process. And she did it within 18 months of her first day at Raytheon.
Ivonne May's family encouraged her to be what she wanted to be. What she wanted was to be a professional in science, technology, engineering or math, the fields known collectively as STEM.
“At that time, few women chose to pursue a career in STEM because it was viewed as a man’s job,” said May, deputy director for Raytheon’s Evolved Seasparrow Missile and Sparrow programs.
May didn’t have any defense or military experience before joining the company. The position meant taking on the unknown and increasing responsibilities.
“I did my homework so I could understand the customer care-abouts,” May said.
She offers this advice for aspiring engineers: “Look for opportunities to be uncomfortable and develop a thick skin.”