My Experience at Northrop Grumman as a Freshman

by Devon Kisfalvi

A picture of me at Willow Lake near the Embry-Riddle Campus.

My name is Devon Kisfalvi and I’m a part of the class of 2023. My major is Electrical Engineering with a minor in Systems Engineering. My amazing internship experience started January of 2020 before the start of the Spring 2020 semester. This internship wouldn’t have been possible without Embry-Riddle. I had just finished my first semester of freshman year, and became a member of the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Club on campus. Through them I was able to get a membership with IEEE, learn about the 2020 IEEE Rising Stars Conference, and was able to attend. There I saw Northrop Grumman had set up a table. I went over and introduced myself, and after talking with them they asked for a resume. One of the managers from the Gilbert, AZ office who was at the conference offered me a summer internship.

The internship started May 2020 and was amazing! Even though coronavirus affected most of the in-person events being held, Northrop Grumman was able to still offer multiple opportunities for the interns to meet people and learn more about the company. During my internship I was working with the avionics team on two different projects. The first was working with the internal research and development team on looking for new parts to improve one of the critical systems of a satellite project. This research involved replacing one of the components that would have to be specifically constructed to meet the requirements set by Northrop Grumman and NASA. I communicated with a handful of companies that manufacture those components to ensure that they would meet Northrop Grumman’s and NASA’s requirements.

The second task I worked on with my mentor was collecting documentation for the Landsat 9 (L9) team on the Integrated Electronics Module (IEM) focusing on End Item Data Package (EIDP), which is the final stage of after environmental testing. The documents that needed to be included were parts lists, assembly drawings, among other reports.

Construction of the Landsat 9 at Northrop Grumman.

Even though I was just a freshman, the relevant coursework I have taken so far helped me out a lot, like Intro to Engineering (EGR 101), Digital Circuit (CEC 220), and Digital Circuit Design (CEC 222). EGR 101 has helped develop my teamwork skills to effectively communicate and work with teams of any size. CEC 220 helped me understand the coding of Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA), logic of electrical circuits, and how logic circuits connect to create complex devices. CEC 222 helped me understand the basic components of electrical circuits and how they worked. All these classes helped me with my internship.

The Landsat 9 that I worked on at Northrop Grumman.

Even though you might only be a freshman there is still a possibility for you to be able to do an internship with a company. One thing that employers look for is how you act and how you present yourself. One key aspect is communication, both verbal and written. Anyone can come up with amazing ideas, but you need to be able to communicate them. You also will most likely be working with teams of people and you need to be able to communicate with your team to be successful. You also have to remember how you present yourself to employers. You must be professional, but you also must be yourself. Go into any possible situation with a smile and make sure to introduce yourself. Start a conversation with them. For example, you could ask a question about the company or something specific that interests you. This shows that you are interested in their company, and leads them to asking you questions about yourself. Embry-Riddle has helped me out so much and as you stay open and professional, anything is possible.

CSI Students Attend the RSA Conference

by Kevin Hood

My name is Kevin Hood and I am a Sophomore studying Cyber Intelligence and Security. During my time at Embry-Riddle, I have been managing the Cyber Lab, leading Cyber Defense Club, and working with the college to grow the degree program. Recently, Mohammed Dalloul and I organized a trip to bring a group of students to San Francisco. During the last week of February, the Women in Cybersecurity Club and the Cyber Defense Club visited San Francisco to tour Silicon Valley companies and attend the RSA Conference. The goal for the trip was to help the students practice networking, expose them to opportunities, and make Embry-Riddle well-known in the cybersecurity industry.

This year, club members attended and toured Google’s Headquarters, The Intel Museum, and the Plug and Play Tech Center. This allowed students to experience the Bay Area commodities and cybersecurity companies that exist. Google offers a unique work environment that ensures their employees live in a healthy work-life balance. Our students were surprised how Google provides free gourmet meals, freedom to pursue creative ideas, and collaborate with the best minds in the industry. The GooglePlex has 3D printing labs, employee gardens, and gyms available for employees to use during the workday. Google offers student internships in cybersecurity, and we talked to them about participating in our career fair that we offer for students in both the Fall and Spring semesters.

The second place we visited was the Intel campus in Silicon Valley. Kevin Dorland, a senior in the Cyber Intelligence and Security program, gave other students a tour of the Intel Museum. Kevin’s expertise and previous knowledge on Intel’s products was an inspiration for our students and taught them about the history of computers, old storage devices, Intel StrataFlash memory, microcontrollers, and the manufacturing behind Intel chipsets.

Kevin Dorland at the Intel Museum

Silicon Valley is best known for the technology startups in the industry, and the College of Security and Intelligence Dean, Dr. Jon Haass, got us connected with the Plug and Play Tech Center. Plug and Play is an innovation platform that helps startup companies connect with the world’s largest tech giants. These connections help the startups gain support and investments to grow their products. Plug and Play partners with universities across the United States to support student startup ideas for startups when they graduate college.

During our tour of the facility, we learned about the process for how collaboration between the fortune 500 companies and startups can lead to the best innovation. Startups can present their ideas to company representatives and gain feedback on their ideas, which can lead to investments and company partnerships.

The next two days of the trip were spent attending the RSA Conference. The RSA Conference is the largest cybersecurity conference in the world, where students attend keynotes, networked with over 500 companies, and attend the RSAC College Day Sponsor Panel. During this event, we networked with the cybersecurity leaders from NBCUniversal, Walmart, Lockheed Martin, RSA, Intuit, Dell Technologies, and Microsoft about cybersecurity initiatives and ideas from students.

On Thursday afternoon, we met with Mike Gordon, Vice President & Chief Information Security Officer for Lockheed Martin to discuss how we could collaborate for more student projects and opportunities. Mike is an Embry-Riddle Alumni who provided support for ERAU’s 2019 CyberAero Competition. Lockheed Martin has set up special programs for our students including the Lockheed Martin Cybersecurity White Paper Competition where students wrote papers addressing multiple topics in cybersecurity to win prizes. Additionally, we met one of our recent Embry-Riddle graduates, Andrew Recker, who is working as a Cybersecurity Engineer at Lockheed Martin and was one of the founders of the Cyber Defense Club. Our goal is to continue to strengthen the relations with Lockheed Martin Cybersecurity organization for future opportunities, specialized internship programs, and project support.

Embry-Riddle students with Mike Gordon, Vice President and CISO of Lockheed Martin (ERAU Class of 2000), and Andrew Recker, a Cybersecurity Engineer at Lockheed Martin (ERAU Class of 2019).

Embry-Riddle’s Women in Cybersecurity Club (WiCys) attended the conference to gain connections and industry support across Cybersecurity domains. Currently, the ERAU WiCyS Club is the only WiCyS Club in Arizona, and they want to help other Universities start their own chapters. The club members networked with NBCUniversal to discuss how they can gain more support for projects and student opportunities. Additionally, they spoke with John Scimone, Senior Vice President & Chief Security Officer at Dell Security & Resiliency, regarding this topic because he is an Ambassador for the Executive Women’s Forum on Information Security, Risk Management & Privacy.

Student Representatives from Embry-Riddle’s Women in Cybersecurity Club with Andrea Abell, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer of NBCUniversal, and NBCUniversal Recruiters.

Students from both the WiCyS club and Cyber Defense Club attended the expo floor and industry talks on quantum cryptography, machine learning, anti-fraud, product security, and advanced threats facing the industry. The exposure for these students inspires them, as they can see first-hand the innovation and product ideas that these companies provide to the cybersecurity industry. These students discussed initiating startups, capstone ideas with representatives at the car hacking sandbox, and research projects that they could present in partnership with the sandbox partners at the following year at the conference.

The opportunity to tour Silicon Valley and attend the RSA Conference was invaluable to us. During the conference, Mohammed and I spent most of our time collaborating with the members of the Chief Information Security Officer Panel and companies on the expo floor. Gaining insight into the industry and learning how academia can collaborate with the companies was very inspiring. Also, Mohammed and I are very proud of the students for leaving a lasting impression of the university at the expo floor, getting recruited for international job opportunities, and learning how to solve the cybersecurity threats facing the world. Overall, the trip was life changing for all of us and a huge thank you to the College of Security and Intelligence, Student Government Association, Undergraduate Research Institute, Campus Facilities, Women in Cybersecurity, Dean Rhondie, and Leah Richwine for making the trip possible.