EL SEGUNDO, Calif.– 16 Mar 11
Elizabeth Lanzarone: The Secret to My STEM Success
By: Heather L. Ogletree
On Mar. 11, 2011, Elizabeth Lanzarone stepped through the front door of the illustrious Boeing Company in El Segundo, Calif., to begin her first day as a Space and Intelligence Systems Rotation Program Engineer. Lanzarone, an alumnus of the Undergraduate Student Research Project (USRP) Johnson Space Center in Houston, worked on a project in the fall of 2008 which was instrumental to support the transition of both new software onboard the International Space Station and the move to new training flows for Flight Controllers. Lanzarone was also chosen to take part in NASA’s Microgravity University, where interns were allowed to design and test an experiment on the “Vomit Comit,” is a member of the Society of Women Engineers and AIAA, and participated in four other internship opportunities throughout her time at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla.
Lanzarone is an excellent example of the “STEM Pipeline” at work. Through each experience, she built her network and is now a member of the STEM industry team. The interview below contains the story of Lanzarone’s journey from intern to Boeing employee and contains advice for future STEM industry hopefuls:
Can you give a brief description of your position?
It’s a rotational program in Boeing's S&IS program, taking various systems engineering positions at their satellite development center. My interests are in propulsion and structures, so my first few rotations will probably be in those areas.
How does your position impact or contribute to the overall Aerospace Industry?
Working with the design, testing, and manufacturing of satellites for government and commercial purposes
Describe your journey from interning with USRP to obtaining your position at Boeing?
Since interning with USRP, I finished my Bachelor's degree in Aerospace Engineering at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. I then interned at Craig Technologies, a sub-contractor for NASA at Kennedy Space Center. I continued to intern with Craig Technologies while working on my Master's degree and working as a graduate teaching assistant at Embry-Riddle. I also acted as a NASA student ambassador and was about to participate in several discussions and a conference. I finished my thesis research and graduated with my Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering, with distinction, this past December (2010). I have interviewed with and received offers from several different companies and have accepted an offer from Boeing in El Segundo, Calif.
How has USRP influenced your life/career?
The USRP was an amazing experience that gave me the ability to participate in the NASA student ambassadors program and gave me the edge needed to obtain an internship at Kennedy Space Center with Craig Technologies. I believe that my participation in this program gave me worthwhile experience that helped me not only get internships, but also helped me in getting several different job offers after graduation. I was very lucky to have been able to participate in the USRP.
What words of advice do you have interns who hope to work in the Aerospace Industry?
Don't give up and be persistent! I had to apply to what seems like hundreds of jobs before I got the perfect job offer. Keep looking for the job that you want to do and will make you happy, and work hard to get there. Also, if you end up with a job or internship that is not exactly what you want to do, still try to learn as much as you can while you are there, you never know where it will take you and what applicable experience you will gain in order to get you the perfect job.