Discovering Engineering: From Robots to Radar

This week First Book is sharing stories about science and engineering from some of our friends at Lockheed Martin. Today’s guest blogger is Sarah Brown, a systems engineer with Lockheed Martin in Syracuse, New York.

Lockheed Martin engineer Sarah Brown shares her story with First Book
I was exposed to engineering from an early age because both my parents are software engineers. But I never really understood what an engineer did beyond sit at a computer.

My freshman year of high school, I joined the FIRST Robotics team at my high school because I thought robots sounded really cool. Little did I know I was about to go through an intense start-to-finish engineering design project. After six weeks of staying late after school sanding drive rods and coming in on weekends to debug our roller mechanism, we had a complete robot that could actually drive around and pick up soccer balls. At that moment, seeing our idea finally come to fruition, I knew I wanted to be an engineer when I grew up.

Now, nine years later, I’m a third-year ELDP working as a systems engineer on a ground-based radar program. While our design cycles are a little longer than the six weeks we had on the robotics team, I still love being an engineer. Every day brings with it a challenging new problem, whether it be designing a new algorithm, debugging a problem in the lab, or dealing with a requirements change from the customer.

I’m always amazed at the new and exciting applications we find for our technology. For example, here at MS2 in Syracuse we’ve applied the signal processing techniques we use to detect targets with radar and sonar to the Mine Communication System (MCS), which helps trapped miners communicate with the surface in case of emergency.

If you’re a student, what do you think of Sarah’s job? What do you like (or dislike) about studying science and math in school?