Northrop Grumman's Mandy discusses how she got into cyber, the importance of mentorship, and why cyber and intelligence keeps her interested


Northrop Grumman engineer wins award for national security support

Northrop Grumman engineer wins award for national security support

Mandy Rogers, manager of cyber software engineering, cyber and intelligence mission solutions division at Northrop Grumman Mission Systems, recently received the Intelligence and National Security Alliance’s (INSA) Edwin H. Land Industry Award for exemplary support to the intelligence and national security communities.

"This award represents a larger body of work and more than my personal accomplishments - it’s really for every individual whom has been a positive enabler in my life. It’s about my mentors and peers and the passionate folks who enabled extraordinary achievements to occur.  It’s very humbling and I cannot thank all of the collaborators, leaders and mentors along the way enough," says Mandy.

An exciting career at Northrop Grumman

Mandy is a manager of cyber software engineering and works on advanced mission engineering and software development concepts. She is a mentor to students in the Advanced Cybersecurity Experience for Students Program at University of Maryland – College Park and Christopher Newport University. Mandy's mentorship of the next generation STEM professionals helps America's ability to recruit and train top technical talent.

Being introduced to STEM at school

Many grew up in a farm-town in Northern Virginia where she had no thought of pursuing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).  In fact, she was a member of the “Future Farmers of America,” so computer science wasn't necessarily on her radar. 

In high school, she lucked upon a new elective called, ‘Computer Math,’ which taught the history of computers and was an introduction to computer programming, which had Mandy hooked.

"STEM and discovering my natural curiosity for solving hard problems were my new passions.  My hope now is to inspire future generations to go this route, especially women or those who may not come from ‘high tech’ areas with access to traditional STEM outreach programs," says Mandy.

"I work with fascinating peers, cutting-edge technology and genuinely feel like I make a positive impact on national security, every day. That’s pretty cool!"

Receiving valuable mentoring

Given her natural curiosity for solving difficult problems - and often through quirky means - Mandy says she had several teachers in high school advise her to lean toward science and engineering.

Mandy's grandfather then encouraged her to ‘step up to the plate’ and major in computer engineering at Christopher Newport University - before she knew what ‘engineering’ meant. It is a male-dominated field, and Many was the sole female to earn an engineering degree in her graduating class.

"Thankfully, more women than ever are pursuing STEM since today’s hard problems take diversity of thought and people with out-of-the-box perspectives coming together to deliver in the rapidly changing cyber and intelligence field," says Mandy.

Professionally, Mandy cites her Northrop Grumman leadership and government partners as hugely influential. "At the end of the day, it’s your network of support that helps you push through," adds Mandy. "You have to have confidence in yourself and in feeling uncomfortably stretched. For every one person who says, 'You can’t,' there are ten behind you saying, 'You can! Let’s go for it. Let’s try it!'"

Giving advice to women in STEM

Mandy's advice to women in STEM fields is to seek out mentors and never box yourself into a particular role. "Stereotypes can get in the way of being our full creative self. It’s okay to be an artist and engineer at the same time so don’t say, 'You can’t', because you can," says Mandy.

Staying motivated and inspired

What keeps Mandy motivated and inspired in her field is the constant fluidity in trying new things and to tackle new mission-needs every single day at Northrop Grumman. For Mandy, the exciting part of being in the realm of engineering and intelligence is the bandwidth to try out novel solutions and experiment to learn what works and doesn't, quite rapidly.

"We cannot be afraid of failure as failure shows you’re stretching tradition; without occasional small failures there would be no success," adds Mandy. "This is a constantly evolving field. You get to unravel problems and crank out solutions all in the name of national security. Being able to empathize with the mission is key. When doing this type of work, you form a special bond with your teammates and the end-users for your technology. It’s meaningful work and challenges me to do my best."

Join talented women like Mandy at Northrop Grumman

Women like Mandy at Northrop Grumman are passionate at their jobs and are encouraged to explore their full potential.

Find out more about Northrop Grumman's current job vacancies.

 

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