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NDA Duo Get a Jump on Career

December 30, 2018

TYNGSBORO -- Two students from the Academy of Notre Dame are getting a head-start on exploring possible career placements with the Women in Technology educational outreach program at BAE Systems’ Electronic Systems sector.

Juniors Martina Maximovich of Lowell and Lana Sukkar of Merrimack, N.H., applied to the WiT Program at BAE Systems this past fall, but felt it was a long shot, considering only 24 applicants get into the program each year. Both girls were happily surprised when they received acceptances and were anxious to get started with the program, which promised to expand their understanding of science, technology, math and engineering.

WiT gives female high-school students with an aptitude in math and science a practical, hands-on opportunity to explore careers in various technical disciplines. It also provides mentorship to the students to encourage and support them in their pursuit of a technical career.

Martina and Lana will be exposed to several aspects of engineering in the 16-week program. The technical rotations consist of software, mechanical, electrical, microwave, optical and manufacturing engineering, as well as signal processing and failure analysis.

Martina said the program has helped her to envision a future reality and how to network with professionals.

“We are being introduced to tons of engineering fields that we may be interested in pursuing in the future and have access to great mentors who help us with any questions we have,” she said.

Lana knew she would be fascinated by the subject matter but is getting so much more out of the program than she ever imagined.

“BAE has exceeded my expectations with all of the riveting projects,” she said. “So far, we have made our own antennas, took a tour of the Microelectronics Center, and learned about the night-vision goggle that BAE has engineered, which is in keeping with their motto, ‘We protect those who protect us.’”

BAE mentor Stephanie Livsey said the company gets just as much out of the program as the students.

“The Women in Technology program helps with community outreach, encourages young women who are interested in STEM fields, and allows us to connect with students who may work for us in the future,” she said.

Sukkar and Maximovich are more than halfway through their rotations and are thriving in the environment. They will soon begin building their own robots.

“Opportunities such as the WiT program at BAE are plentiful here at NDA,” interim Principal Pamela Bernazani said. “Our students are well-represented in programs like Art All State, the HOBY Leadership Seminar at Bentley University, the Neuroscience and Mental Health Internship program with the UMass Medical School in Worcester, and WPI’s Frontiers Program, to name a few. These experiences are empowering for students and serve as real-life applications for their technical and problem-solving skills.”

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