Meet Outstanding Intern & Patti Grace Smith Fellow, Alina A.
July 13, 2021
Alina is a technical intern and SNC's first Patti Grace Smith Fellow. In fact, she is part of the Patti Smith Grace
Fellowship (PSGF) inaugural class. The PSGF is a sister program to the Brooke Owens Fellowship, which SNC has sponsored for several years.
Read on to learn about Alina, and what attracted her to starting her career at SNC.
Where do you go to college and what is your major?
I’m a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, working towards an undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering
You are part of the Patti Grace Smith Fellowship’s inaugural class; can you share a little about the program?
The program works towards the goal of a more representative workforce in aerospace, inspired by Patti Grace Smith, a leader in the commercial Space Revolution and a trailblazer for the Black community. The Patti Grace Smith Fellowship (PGSF) identifies engineering students with a passion for aerospace, and supports them in a variety of ways: pairing them with partner employers, providing mentors at the top levels of the industry, and distributing scholarships to support the rest of their education. It’s an important cause and has been a fantastic experience, I highly recommend that any young or aspiring engineering students check it out!
What attracted you to an internship at SNC?
Although the PGSF is what introduced me to SNC, my subsequent interview was what convinced me that this would be the most fun and impactful way to spend my summer. The entire test team for my program conducted the interview, and showed me how much excitement and flexibility SNC offers. What sealed the deal was hearing about how much time they spend on their feet- as well as how much they spend in the air.
What’s something you’ve learned while at SNC – or are most excited about learning?
The biggest thing I aimed to learn this summer was the role of test engineers and what it’s like to work at SNC. Along the way, I’ve learned about the systems which work together on our planes, and about the biggest threats to that harmony. I’ve learned industry practices, company conventions, and the documentation processes which Test uses to stay accountable and organized. I’ve learned so much about operating radios and HF safety, which has already been a major supplement to my electrical education.
What projects are you working on here?
I’m working as a test engineer in the U-28 program. I’ve helped to create and conduct test plans for this program, which has involved working closely with avionics, systems engineers, vendors, and our customer.
Do you hope to keep working at SNC after your internship ends?
I’m going to try and get a couple different work experiences while I finish my education, but I hope to come back to SNC full time after graduation as a test engineer because nowhere else fits my specs better: constantly learning something new, working with different people, and always on the move.
What is a fun fact about yourself and/or anything else you’d like to add?
One of my mentors is pursuing her pilot’s license, and after working with her and getting to fly with some of the SNC pilots I’ve been inspired to work towards a license of my own.