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Learning by Doing

By Brandon Hartman

With expectations of dreaded coffee runs and file sorting, internships usually get a bad rap. At Northrop Grumman, however, don’t expect to see interns toiling away at mundane tasks.

Interns at Northrop Grumman make significant contributions and often find themselves gaining hands-on experience and working alongside a team of innovators while doing some amazing things.

For Summer 2018, two thousand interns representing 300 colleges and universities unleashed fresh ideas and energy on all manner of programs across almost every Northrop Grumman site around the world.

"Interns’ approaches to problems are often untouched by industry, and they can use their thought diversity and unbiased innovation to provide a fresh perspective to bring new ideas and solutions to complex problems,” says Luke Mann, intern program manager.

“We like to provide them with multiple opportunities to work on real business challenges, many times utilizing cutting-edge technologies, with the goal being to provide professional development, training, networking opportunities and resources to ensure interns are successful and are able to transition into full-time roles,” Mann adds.

Meaningful Work Experience

At Northrop Grumman, it’s important to create enthusiasm about working in the aerospace industry. Providing interns with a well-thought-out statement of work and making sure they are given meaningful, challenging assignments and broad exposure beyond their direct assignments are ways we help to inspire innovation.

STEM Interns at a orientation welcoming
Interns in Huntsville, Alabama, are welcomed during an orientation.

Meaningful work experiences are often what demonstrates to interns that Northrop Grumman is the right place for them to grow and thrive in their careers. Fergie I. is an intern who previously supported the database team and ground operations team for the James Webb Space Telescope. He recently rejoined the company as an intern in the Mission 1 program supporting the Priority Access Satellite Scheduler.

"I chose to join Northrop Grumman because of the people and the projects the company is involved with," says Fergie. "My internships have allowed me to gain more knowledge of not only the type of work a systems engineer does, but also to learn more about the company’s culture."

Kevin J. recently served as a systems/network engineering intern on the Counter Rocket Artillery and Mortar program. The ability to have direct impact on a program that supports warfighters convinced Jernigan to join Northrop Grumman’s Professional Development Program after his internship.

“Through the internship I was able to better myself as an engineer and can now better troubleshoot issues and interact as a team member with my coworkers,” says Kevin.

“I’ve loved every second of the work, the people and the experience, and I’m excited to see how Northrop can help me grow more from here,” he says.

Interns working on the stealth UAV
Interns Nathan R. and Wesley N. work on developing a stealth UAV.

Delivering Excellence

There’s opportunity for inspiration anytime you talk business with someone outside of your industry, team or day-to-day operations.

Andy Kwas, an engineering systems architect, has worked with numerous interns on complex projects such as 3D printing in space and developing an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). Time and again, interns have impressed him with their perspective on business, strategies and plans.

“I am always amazed with how interns can work to levels way above their experience levels,” says Kwas. “I have seen high school and college interns provide some very innovative solutions.”

Interns posing by the James Webb Telescope
Intern Fergie I. poses with fellow interns next to the James Webb Space Telescope Sunshield.

Interns are an important element for Northrop Grumman’s future workforce. With the company internship experience preparing interns to work in large, fast-paced environments and allowing them to develop time management and critical thinking skills, the future of Northrop Grumman is in good hands.

Considering an internship? Check the Northrop Grumman Internship page for more information about our annual program.