Each year, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) Alumni Association honors distinguished alumni for their service to UMBC and their contributions to the community and workforce. Lauren Mazzoli, a UMBC grad who received her master's degree in computer science in May, was among the pool of leaders recognized at her alma mater.
On Oct. 5 at the Darielle Linehan Concert Hall at UMBC, Lauren, a two-time UMBC grad, received the 2017 UMBC Rising Star Award, which honors outstanding graduates of the last decade. Considering that only eight UMBC alumni received an award, Lauren is both thankful and surprised to receive the recognition.
“UMBC has a lot of strong talent and awesome alumni who're doing great things,” Lauren said. “But, I think it [the award] has a lot to do with how much I give back and how many different events I've supported with Northrop Grumman and UMBC.”
Supporting Diversity in STEM
While taking a computer science class, Lauren, a mathematics major at the time, realized the stark need for more women and minorities in computer science and cybersecurity. She graduated in 2015 with a bachelor's degree in mathematics and computer science and wanted to enhance the interaction between Northrop Grumman and UMBC.
In light of her eagerness, she not only became involved in initiatives at UMBC, but she also led and supported many events, including events for the Cyber Scholars Program, a merit-based scholarship program primarily funded by the Northrop Grumman Foundation for students interested in a cybersecurity career.
Lauren helps put on company competitions, hiring events, networking sessions and technology expos to help UMBC students break into the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) industry and secure positions at Northrop Grumman.
“I've always been passionate about helping others. In high school, I would spend my weekends volunteering as a big sister program participant or at a homeless shelter,” Lauren says. “Volunteering has become a hobby for me now, and I consider myself lucky to be able to help young women and people of all backgrounds succeed in STEM fields at UMBC and Northrop Grumman.”
Lauren especially loves UMBC events that shed light on innovative company technologies and programs.
“Many of our initiatives and programs are classified, so it's amazing to allow students to see what Northrop Grumman is actually producing,” she said.
“If I don't understand something, I make sure that I step outside of my comfort zone to ask questions and communicate with the team …”
Building the Future at Northrop Grumman
Her service to UMBC after hours isn't the only reason Lauren is a superstar. Lauren, now a member of the Northrop Grumman Future Technical Leaders (FTL) program, exceeds expectations at Northrop Grumman, designing new technologies and web applications.
“If I don't understand something, I make sure that I step outside of my comfort zone to ask questions and communicate with the team,” Lauren said. “Owning a task or project and getting it done in advance has helped me succeed at Northrop Grumman so far.”
Aside from helping students land internships at Northrop Grumman, Lauren plans to mobilize company employees to help continue volunteerism efforts to bridge the gap between STEM students and Northrop Grumman. Luckily, Lauren's efforts to spread the word won't be too difficult, in light of the extensive number of employees who are connected to UMBC.
“I think it's awesome that we continue to partner with UMBC every year,” Lauren said. “A school that values diversity partnered with a company [Northrop Grumman] that values diversity both speak volumes to employees and students.”
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