Stephanie Locks Hartle makes an impact on Northrop Grumman Future Technical Leaders program and is named Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer


Northrop Grummans Stephanie is an Outstanding Young Engineer

Northrop Grumman's Stephanie is an Outstanding Young Engineer

Stephanie Locks (Hartle) turned her passion for shuttle watching and cinema into an engineering career at Northrop Grumman

Growing up in Central Florida, the Systems Engineer remembers seeing rockets go up and feeling the boom of the Space Shuttle as it went supersonic. This is what inspired her.

Her interest peaked while accompanying scholars of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation on a tour of the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral. Cinema also lit a spark - as she was interested in 'Q' - the James Bond character responsible for arming the spy with 'Q Branch' gadgets.

"Engineering has always been an interesting field, but Q took it to a new level for me. I mean how cool would it be to 'fix up' a Rolex so that it can shoot out a laser beam?" said Stephanie.

Part of the Northrop Grumman Future Technical Leaders program

As a participant in the Northrop Grumman Future Technical Leaders rotational program, Stephanie is bringing her dreams to life by applying her skills to real-world missions in defense of the U.S. and its allies. 

A graduate of Cornell University and Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), Stephanie has also received the Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer Award from the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME). 

Stephanie says she enjoys what she does researching into high-technology manufacturing and Industry 4.0. In the rotational program, she has completed a number of successful rotations. 

For example, a list of 10 questions Stephanie developed at the Corporate Technology Office is helping leaders in manufacturing operations identify how to move their assembly lines into the fourth industrial revolution. That formula was published by the Society of Automotive Engineers in a book by Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems technical fellow George 'Nick' Bullen, titled The Future Airplane Factory: Digitally-Optimized Intelligent Airplane Assembly.

Learn more about Stephanie's award and her career journey.

Sharing career advice

For young people looking at careers in engineering, Stephanie says the first 1-2 years of undergraduate study are the hardest. "You need to get through the hard stuff first, but it will be worth it. Then in the third or fourth year, you don't need to be worried about finding a job - there are plenty," she explained. 

Stephanie recommends applying for the Future Technical Leaders program at Northrop Grumman - but says be prepared to pick up and move around the country. "By the third rotation, you don't unpack all of your boxes," she laughs. "You figure out what you really need."

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