PLTW Students, Alumni Accept Internship Roles and Job Offers at Lockheed Martin Signing Day

Four college students with their freshly inked full-time job offers. Forty-seven beaming high school students. Industry professionals, proud parents, supportive teachers. A little pomp and circumstance. And a lot of fun.

This was the scene at “Lockheed Martin Signing Day: From High School Interns to Career Engineers.” Lockheed Martin recently hosted the special event at its Aeronautics Vision Center in Fort Worth, Texas, to recognize its high school internship program’s incoming and current participants and to extend offers for career engineering positions to members of the program’s inaugural high school intern class.

“It makes me so happy to be here,” said Trinity Stallins, one of the 47 incoming Lockheed Martin high school interns who was celebrated at the event.

Stallins is a rising senior at Martin High School and has been a Project Lead The Way (PLTW) student since middle school. She aspires to pursue an engineering career and says she completed a separate internship experience last year as a stepping stone into the Lockheed Martin high school internship program.

“I've been waiting to get this opportunity since as long as I can remember,” she said.

Lockheed Martin’s high school engineering internship program – created in partnership with PLTW and the Arlington Independent School District (ISD) in Texas – launched in 2014.

The program has since expanded to four total school districts: Arlington ISD, Crowley ISD, Fort Worth ISD, and Keller ISD. The program is open to the districts’ PLTW Engineering students and provides participants with the opportunity to work alongside Lockheed Martin engineers at the Fort Worth Aeronautics facility. Throughout the internship program, students also continue to develop in-demand, transportable skills they’ve learned in the PLTW classroom, such as communication and critical thinking.

Upon successful completion of the program, students are invited to return to the Aeronautics facility as college interns during future summers.

At Signing Day, the program’s trail-blazing original cohort of high school interns, all from Arlington Independent School District (ISD), celebrated the final weeks of their internship experience and signed offer letters for career engineer positions upon graduation. In addition, Lockheed Martin welcomed its 2018-19 high school intern cohort – at 47 students, the largest-ever intern class since the program’s inception.

Greg Karol, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics vice president of Human Resources, shared remarks at the Signing Day event.

“I see the future,” he said to the students. “The future is very bright. And I’m very excited not only for you but for Lockheed Martin because you’re coming to join with us.

“It’s going to be a great thing,” he continued. “But it would not be possible without our partners: Project Lead The Way and our local ISDs.”

Karol highlighted the critical need of the company’s high school internship program – citing fewer students pursuing STEM at the collegiate level, which in turn shrinks the talent pool for companies such as Lockheed Martin.

“We knew that had to change,” he said. “We knew we had to dig deeper into the student workforce and go out there and talk to them. Project Lead The Way was the perfect entrée into that. Because of this partnership, high-potential students are exploring STEM-focused careers at Lockheed Martin while still in high school. We are reaching students we may have never reached before, who may have never thought about a career in STEM without Project Lead The Way.”

Abdallah Shishani, a mechanical engineering student at The University of Texas at Arlington and member of the high school internship program’s original cohort, identified PLTW as a pivotal part of his journey to Signing Day.

“Who knows if I would be here without Project Lead The Way, because that's really what lit the fire and gave me that passion to pursue a STEM degree,” he said.

Shishani also credited his development as a well-rounded professional to his experience in the PLTW classroom and participation in the Lockheed Martin internship program.

“I think I've become more confident in my abilities, more confident in what I want to pursue, as well as being a team player, working with a group, communicating, networking,” he said. “I think that's just as important as the technical part of it.

“I'm really proud to be part of this program with Project Lead The Way and Lockheed Martin,” he concluded. “I'm excited for the future.”

As part of the Signing Day event’s programming, PLTW President and CEO Dr. Vince Bertram also addressed the students, providing them with insights and tools to help them plan their paths forward, as well as emphasizing the value of their internship experience.

“You have differentiated yourselves,” Bertram said. “You’ve developed skills and knowledge. You’ve created an opportunity for yourself – you’ve earned an opportunity.

“You also have a great company that believes in you – a company that’s extended an opportunity to you unlike any other and one that we believe is a national model,” he continued. “One that we believe, and we hope, that more and more students across this country get an opportunity to do with Lockheed Martin and other employers.

“You’re going to learn from some of the best engineers, best people in the world. Absorb everything you can absorb. Learn as much as you can learn. Be curious every day. Ask questions. Take advantage of this opportunity.”