D&I intern spotlight: Summer 2018
Diversity is a driving force within our culture of innovation at Leidos. The talent needed to grow our business depends on cultivating a workforce rich in diversity of thought, style and experience. By cultivating an inclusive culture, we enable every employee to leverage their unique talents and high-performance standards to create cohesive and collaborative teams to ultimately provide our customers with innovative and mission-critical solutions.
Leidos has an extensive Diversity Talent Acquisition and External Partnership strategy that focuses on identifying, acquiring, and retaining diverse talent. Partnerships with events and organizations like the Black Engineer of the Year Awards (BEYA) STEM Conference, the Hispanics in Engineering National Achievements Awards Conference (HENAAC), and the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) are opportunities for our Talent Acquisition team to recruit some of the brightest minds in STEM. This year, our efforts at events like BEYA, HENAAC and NSBE yielded 18 collegiate hires with 12 interns hired at BEYA and HENAAC alone. We sat down with a few of our new hires to learn about what made them choose Leidos.
What about Leidos interested you initially?
, Morgan State University, Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering (BEYA)
Diversity in the work I get to perform. Each project I have had the opportunity to work on were all different from the previous.
, University of Texas El Paso, Bachelor of Computer Science (HENAAC)
The type of work I can do in this company. I was very lucky to meet my current manager at HENAAC because he explained exactly what I would be doing if I joined Leidos. The type of work he described seemed not only challenging (and therefore fun), but also valuable to the community.
, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (HENAAC)
While attending the HENAAC conference this past October, I met the people at the Leidos booth, and they were the most sincere people that I talked to at the conference. They wanted me to work for Leidos, and helped me get an opportunity for internship. That sincerity made me want to know more about the company.
, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering and Cybersecurity (BEYA)
The culture pushes for employees to be creative, developing solutions to societal problems, and working hard. The company is also on the cutting-edge of innovation. I have a strong desire to be part of technology innovation, and an internship at Leidos would allow me to grow and contribute my knowledge and skills to solve current tech challenges.
What do you like best about working at Leidos?
Orubele: The opportunity for teamwork provided the perfect avenue for understanding the mind frame of my co-engineers.
Gonzalez-Aguilar: The opportunity to work on projects that have a positive impact on the country and the rest of the world. The work we do for our customers is vital for their operations.
Guzman: The culture and people that Leidos offers is second to none. From the first minute I walked in, I felt like I was a part of something bigger, but more importantly I felt like that I was a part of a family. I never felt like any question was too simple. Overall, I felt like I was contributing valuable input and work to the operation, rather than just doing grunt work.
Reda: I like the employees, collaboration, job opportunities, and the company culture. Employees that I met throughout my internship were cooperative and friendly. I also admire the overall company culture and work ethic.
What kind of work are you doing, and what value do you feel you are providing to the organization and to the customer?
Orubele: Most of my work was focused on Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) and Internet of Things. I provided my team with different routes we could examine while working on our PYNQ-z1, as well as a facial recognition project.
Gonzalez-Aguilar: I am in the Android Development and Exploitation team, and since I’ve been here I have worked on a few different projects, each very unique in terms of the technology used.
Guzman: I was working for the QRC Airborne ISR Systems Division. There are three main divisions for mechanical engineering – production, design, and structural. I dabbled in all three sections but focused more in structural and production. Since structural is a new section in the location where I worked at, the software that was used was fairly new to everyone, and was a learning experience.
Reda: Primarily, I am working on accelerating the run time of a python function which is used to program and run on an embedded device; PYNQ-z1 board. I am also writing C language for a light sensor detector which will be programmed to FPGA. I am contributing my skills and knowledge to solve different, challenging problems.
How well do you feel your collegiate studies prepared you for your internship?
Orubele: Working with my fellow interns I gained great insight on how to work and problem-solve effectively.
Gonzalez-Aguilar: I feel that my collegiate studies prepared me well enough to be able to further learn all the technology necessary for my projects.
Guzman: For most of my collegiate studies my professors stressed problem solving abilities and being able to solve them quickly, either individually or with a team. This skill helped me with my internship by allowing me to solve problems in an efficient manner.
Reda: I feel my school prepared me well enough to acquire the basic knowledge and skills required for my intern work. However, some of my projects were very challenging, so I believe my school could do a better job of making sure the curriculum better matches the required skills and knowledge for the real world.
How did the work you performed at Leidos better prepare you for a career in your field?
Orubele: Teamwork and being able to explore any ideas no matter how far-fetched it may sound.
Gonzalez-Aguilar: While working at Leidos I have gotten to experience the real applications of abstract concepts that I have learned in school.
Guzman: The work that I performed at Leidos helped me by giving me insight to real world work experience. I worked at a location where the parts were made on site, which allowed me to work at my desk then go outside and see exactly what I was working on. This allowed me to understand the thought process that an engineer has to take in order to complete a task.
Reda: The projects are both demanding and inspiring, and they pushed me to work hard and look into different angles to solve for the given problems. I learned where to direct my resources, time, and attention. This internship helped me to identify my weaknesses and strengths.
What advice would you give to students considering Leidos for employment?
Orubele: Don’t be afraid to verbalize your ideas and listen to the applause for the smallest time possible – then then get back to work!
Gonzalez-Aguilar: That they should definitely apply if they are looking for fun and challenging work, and looking to earn some professional experience to develop their careers.
Guzman: Take the jump to experience working at Leidos. It is an exciting atmosphere to work in, and you’ll have fun while working here.
Reda: I would recommend any student to join Leidos as it is a great company to be a part of. Leidos is innovative, has lots of opportunities, and has a great reputation – so only dedicated and serious personnel should apply.