Every New Year's Eve, Melissa Rhoads and her siblings and cousins wrote down what they wanted to be when they grew up, and year after year, she dreamed of becoming a veterinarian. It was not until Melissa cleaned manure all day at a volunteer zoo event that she realized this was not what she liked or wanted to do, and changed her mind...little did she know her dream job was waiting at Lockheed Martin.
"The best advice I can give someone thinking of their future career is to do what they like and not focus on the class they earned the best, or even the worst, grade in," said Melissa. "Don't think about it from a school perspective."
What Melissa loves to do is solve problems. At its core, engineering is problem-solving. It is a way of thinking. As a result, Melissa ended up graduating college with a degree in electrical engineering. This field focuses on developing, designing and testing electrical and electronic devices such as high-definition television, solar panel generators, robots and computers. This field has been and will continue to be at the cutting edge of technology.
"When you're reading or watching TV, use that to inspire what you want to do," said Melissa. "Do you like all of the new crime shows with medical examiners? That's problem solving."
Now a biotechnology strategist at Lockheed Martin and a Ph.D. student at the University of Maryland, Melissa believes biotechnology is not only a diverse field - it is the technology of the 21st century.
"The best part of working at Lockheed Martin is the diversity of opportunities and the people," said Melissa. "Working together toward a common goal is a big part of who I am, and it's a big part of working here."
Like Melissa, students may learn about subjects they like with engaging hands-on activities at the 3rd USA Science & Engineering Festival. Lockheed Martin volunteers and partners will share their passion for their work and subjects that are exciting and on the cutting edge of technology. Join us at the Festival at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., April 26-27, 2014.