A group of five high-powered Huntington High School students participated in BAE Systems’ Women in Technology program gaining valuable hands-on experience at the global defense and aerospace company, which employs a workforce of 83,000 in over 40 countries.
Alice Bradford, Ava Waxenberg, Erin Bonitz, Lia Shechter and Sara Frawley spent weeks at BAE Systems, which maintains a large facility in Greenlawn.
The program ran from September to November, stretching over nine weeks. In addition to the five exceptional Huntington students, teenagers from Cold Spring Harbor, John H. Glenn, Harborfields, Northport and Smithtown also participated.
“Women in Technology (WiT) is a collaborative effort between local area high schools and BAE Systems’ Electronic Systems sector,” according to the company website. “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. After completing the program, seniors who have been accepted to college with a declared major in engineering are encouraged to apply for a summer internship opportunity at BAE Systems.”
The Huntington students participated in technical rotations that exposed them to software, mechanical, electrical, microwave, optical and manufacturing engineering along with signal processing and failure analysis.
“Other rotations include building skills in communication and presentation giving, as well as providing opportunities for students to attend networking events with engineers at BAE Systems to encourage insight into the industry,” states the company website.
The Huntington students found the initiative to be a valuable one. “Only 14 percent of engineers are women, so this program is extremely important,” Ms. Frawley said.
Using Arduino Uno Boards and coding, students worked in groups to replicate the hardware and software in a Hawkeye aircraft. They strived to design what they wanted theirs to do based on the needs of a hypothetical consumer and then put this idea into real life. Projects included temperature readings, LEDs and even Bluetooth technology to communicate from the “jet” to “ground.”
Program participants worked on the project for nine weeks under the mentorship of BAE Systems engineers. “At the end of the program each group presented a different aspect of their project,” Ms. Frawley said. “This was a great opportunity for the groups to share their experience and reflect on what they had learned.”