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.

The Road to Senior Year

by Bria Booth

Hello! My name is Bria Booth. I am an Aerospace Engineering and Systems Engineering student at Embry-Riddle’s Prescott Campus. I’m excited to say that I will be a student blogger during my senior year! While our fall semester will be quite a bit different than usual (social distancing, hybrid classrooms, and masks), I look forward to telling you all about it while sharing some of my favorite stories from the last three years.

Next year, I’ll be Member Development Vice President of Alpha Xi Delta (one of our campus’s sororities), Editor-in-Chief of the campus newspaper, and working on my Capstone project. Three things that I’ve been hoping for and looking forward to since my first year on campus. Even though the year is shaping up to be quite a bit different than I would have expected three years ago, I’m excited for everything that I have planned.

Now that I’m entering my last undergraduate fall semester I’m ready to get back to the classroom. I won’t lie, it’s been nice to have time to slow down and de-stress over the last few months. My summer has been slower than expected, but I wouldn’t call it un-eventful. I’m working on a virtual musical, fostering kittens, and taking online classes. I’ve done my best to stay busy and connected with friends and my community while staying safe.

I may be an engineering student, but in high school and middle school, I was a committed thespian. Whenever I’m home, I volunteer at the children’s theater that I grew up participating in. I’ve assistant directed, assistant choreographed, and stage-manged for several of their productions since I’ve left the stage. Their adult company is working on a virtual performance of In The Heights, which I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of. It’s always been important to me to find a creative outlet when I’m stressed, so this show couldn’t have come at a better time.

I started fostering kittens for spcaLA a few years ago, and it’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. I take anywhere between 1 and kittens and get to teach them to play and snuggle. Honestly, there are no downsides. I got the call from spcaLA that they had a kitten for me the day that I finished my spring finals. Since then, I’ve had 4 kittens come through my house this summer. Right now, I’m looking after a little black and white ball of fluff named Chai. He’s one of the sweetest cats I’ve ever met, and the perfect foster to finish the summer on.

I’ve had a lot of fun things to do this summer, but it was important to me that I was doing something productive while stuck at home. Through Embry-Riddle Worldwide, I’m taking Chemistry, Chemistry Lab, and Probability and Statistics online. When I added a Systems Engineering Minor to my track, my schedule got a bit cramped. I chose to take classes during a few of my summers so that I would still be able to graduate in four years. Embry-Riddle has made it so easy to do because of the options for online learning. My academic advisor helped me walk through my 4-year plan and map out what could be taken over summer to best free up time during the school year.

I am looking forward to next year, whatever challenges it may bring. It is so crazy to think that I am (hopefully) just two semesters away from graduation! I still can’t believe that I’ve been able to get through the last three years. It really doesn’t feel like it has been that long.

Thank you for reading, and I hope you’ll come back to this blog as I write about my senior year as an Aerospace Engineering student at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Prescott Campus!