Alissa Sanchez is a senior at Northglenn High School in Northglenn, Colorado. She recently joined classmates and students from other area schools for a student showcase event at Lockheed Martin’s Waterton Campus, which included a facility tour, a mentoring lunch, and an opportunity to showcase projects for Lockheed Martin employees.
On February 19, four other girls and I had the incredible opportunity to present the work we have done for our senior Biomed capstone project. Not only did we get to share our work with engineers and many people in the building, we got a tour of a few buildings and learned more about present and upcoming Lockheed Martin projects. On this day, we were joined with another group from our school as well as other groups from surrounding schools.
When the day finally came after weeks of preparation, we got on the bus with the other group from our school and headed down. We got our badges and went inside. Going from the check-in building to the next building to begin the tour was the beginning of a very surreal experience. Being PLTW Biomedical Science students on a bus full of people who aspire to be the next great engineer was intimidating, but we were chosen to participate for a reason.
There was a lot of wondering as to why we had been chosen, and our teachers said that it was because of the engineering concepts we had taught ourselves throughout the process of creating our vivarium for poison dart frogs at the Denver Zoo. At first, I had just accepted that it was because of this, but after meeting with some employees as we toured the buildings, I felt as though there were more reasons.
As a group, we all talked about what our primary interests for the future are, and many people were impressed with the variety of things we wanted to do and gave many inspiring words as to the opportunities we could be presented with in the future. We were absolutely fascinated by the projects Lockheed has been working on, but one of the employees made a point – not everyone involved in these processes studied physics or calculus or all of these rather impressive subjects. Every field needs people that specialize in many different subjects, and this gave our group a lot of hope for the future.
I think this was when we realized we had been invited because there will always be a need for people who are willing to take on the challenge of creating something new and taking risks. We took this as a compliment, and the staff of Lockheed Martin made us realize that we don't have to be engineers to be successful and get recognition for the dedicated work we do.
Going into the next chapter of our lives, studying something we are passionate about will make us successful. Obviously, the people we met on this day were incredibly intelligent, but I was inspired by their life experience and real wisdom of how getting a job in a successful company really works. One of the new employees reminded us during the mentor lunch that engineering isn’t a class you take or something that is built, but it is a mindset that can be incorporated into anything we are determined to complete.
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