Recruited by NAVAIR
By Frank McCoy
Aug 14, 2013, 15:04
LaTisha Durham, technical lead, Avionics Architecture and Systems Engineering Division, NAVAIR
LaTisha Durham, 27, is a technical lead in NAVAIR's Avionics Architecture and Systems Engineering Division. Durham is responsible for providing avionics systems engineering expertise applied to development programs and projects for PMA-231 E-2D and C-2A Joint Precision Approach and landing systems products throughout system life cycle. She received her bachelorís degree in computer engineering from North Carolina A&T State University, and her masterís degree in systems engineering from Iowa State University.
USBE&IT: What year, or years, did you attend the BEYA job fair? LaTisha Durham: I attended the 2004 and 2008 BEYA STEM in respectively my freshman and senior years.
USBE&IT: What expectations did you have about the job fair, and were they met? LaTisha Durham: My expectations while attending BEYAís Career Fair were to learn about the different companies, how my field of study relates to the organization, interview with potential employees and to ultimately find a job. Yes, my expectations were met.
USBE&IT: What was it about your employer that attracted you? LaTisha Durham: During my freshman year, I really did not know about the different companies and how engineering played a role in their organizations. As I approached NAVAIRís booth, the first thing that attracted me were the different aircraft on display. Something about working on aircraft sparked my interest. I spoke with the Patuxent River Avionics Department Site Lead, and after the conversation I knew what NAVAIR was, about different opportunities I could explore with the organization, and how I can help achieve NAVAIRís mission. I left the job fair wanting to work for this organization.
USBE&IT: What do you wish you knew as a student prior to attending the job fair? LaTisha Durham: As a freshman, the one thing I wish I knew prior to attending the job fair was the common expectations companies have of freshman students. After having only one semester under my belt, it would have been good to know what I could have done prior to the conference to make myself more marketable when it came to obtaining an internship.
USBE&IT: If you knew then what you know now how might you have changed your academic focus as a student to fit your employer/sector? LaTisha Durham: I would change the elective courses I chose. If I had taken some introductory courses in mechanical engineering, finance, and systems engineering they would have given me a basic knowledge of some of the different aspects of NAVAIR.
USBE&IT: What must-have advice do you have for students before they attend the BEYA job fair? LaTisha Durham: They have to obtain a list of companies that will be in attendance and research them. I know students may hear this a lot, but when you research the companies, you will know which ones have positions in your major. Then you can spend more time speaking with potential employers. You will also be able to articulate how your skills and knowledge relates to the organization. Researching the company before the career fair shows the potential employees that you have done your homework and you are eager to learn more about the company.
USBE&IT: What information do you think students might want at the job fair that wasnít available? LaTisha Durham: One thing I could think of is a list of all the positions with descriptions that are opened at the companies attending the job fair. Students would have a physical copy to take away as well.
USBE&IT: What has been your proudest professional achievement at your organization? LaTisha Durham: My proudest professional achievement was receiving the Women of Colorís Technology Rising Star Award. To be nominated by my organization was very humbling, and it showed that my work does not go unnoticed and I am doing what it takes to become a successful engineer.
USBE&IT: What sector publications do you always read or consult? LaTisha Durham: US Black Engineer & Information Technology magazine, the National Society of Black Engineers magazine, and the National Defense magazine.
USBE&IT: What do you think are the emerging career opportunities in your sector? LaTisha Durham: Systems engineering is one of the best emerging career opportunities. If you want to see a complex system through its life cycle while demonstrating your leadership skill and technical knowledge, then systems engineering is for you.