In episode 8 of Vaughn’s podcast, Futureproof Focus, Dr. Sharon B. DeVivo, president of Vaughn College and host of the podcast, sat down with Vaughn graduate Philip Bredu ’22 for an inspiring conversation about the value of internships, and how his passion for engineering and the sciences helped him land his current position as a test engineer at Georgia Power.

Coming to America

Born and raised in Ghana, Bredu and his brother moved to the United States to join their father, who was already living in New York at the time. At the age of 18, Bredu enrolled at Bronx Community College, where he started taking courses in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. “Throughout my high school years in Ghana, I always gravitated toward math and physics,” he said. “It never scared me away. I knew it was something I could do.” Then Bredu received an email about a scholarship offered at Vaughn College. “I was intrigued about what I read and wanted to learn more about the College and its engineering programs.”

Excited about his future, Bredu knew that Vaughn would be the perfect place for him to pursue his dream. “I transferred to Vaughn and enrolled in the mechanical engineering program,” he said. “Being at Vaughn offered me the hands-on learning experience I wanted. From financial aid and career support to expert professors and incredible industry connections, landing my internship at Georgia Power was easy.”

The “power” of internships

Philip Bredu'22, Vaughn College mechanical engineering graduateBredu is the perfect example of how an internship can literally “power” your ability to land the job of your dreams. Bredu attended a career fair at Vaughn where he learned that he could use his engineering degree to work at a power company. Later, Vaughn sponsored a trip for him to attend the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) conference where he met with representatives from Georgia Power and received an internship opportunity. “I was invited to the hospitality suite at the conference where I met the supervisor at Georgia Power. After speaking with him for a short time, I was offered the internship!” Bredu said the experience was life changing as it helped him realize that working in the power industry was something he could do.

During the internship, Bredu valued the ability to work both in the office and in the field. “The hybrid schedule enabled me to learn so many different aspects of energy management. This is a dynamic career that will hold my interest for the long term.”

After the internship, Bredu was offered a permanent position at Georgia Power. In 2022, he graduated from Vaughn with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and was ready to start his career as a test engineer. “Moving to Georgia by myself and leaving my family was a challenging time for me,” he said. “It was a total lifestyle change from living in New York, but I’m adjusting. I love my job.”

A day in the life of a test engineer

“You never stop learning. This job teaches you the importance of being a good listener and asking questions.” When Dr. DeVivo asked him if he would recommend working in the power industry, Bredu responded with an enthusiastic, “yes!” “There’s always something new and exciting to learn about,” he explained. “Today’s customers are interested in solar, wind and sustainable energy. Working as a test engineer is a dream come true for me. It’s a diversified job that requires different skills. If you’re looking for a hands-on, intense and exciting career, becoming a test engineer is the job for you. You’ll never be bored.”

Engineering is an excellent field to get into because it offers a wide range of career opportunities across a variety of industries with stability and endless growth potential. What’s more is that new and emerging technologies are creating new roles in engineering every day. So check out Vaughn’s engineering and technology program and set your sights on an incredible future.

Check out all Vaughn’s podcast episodes.

In the sixth episode of Futureproof Focus, Dr. Sharon B. DeVivo, president of Vaughn College and host of the podcast, sat down with Vaughn College alum Eric Santos Silva ‘21 for an inspiring conversation about how his passion for aviation maintenance grew in the military and how he is climbing his way to the top of his career as an aircraft maintenance technician at Delta Air Lines.

Paving the way to his future

Growing up in Brazil, Silva said he always had a strong interest in aviation as well as learning how things worked. His family moved to New York where he attended high school. Like most students, however, he wasn’t sure where his future would take him. “As a first-generation American, I knew I wanted to go to college, but I wasn’t sure what field of study I wanted to pursue,” Silva said. “Then, during senior year, I met with a United States Air Force recruiter who was visiting the school. I enlisted after graduation—and the rest, you can say, is history.”

Gaining experience in the military

Silva was stationed in England, where he served six years in the Air Force. “I worked on the planes’ weapons systems,” he stated. “Being surrounded by airplanes and gaining the hands-on experience truly ignited my passion for aviation.” He explained how serving in the military instilled core qualities and skillsets that not only helped him get to where he is today, but which he applies to life in general:

  • Being organized
  • Coming prepared to every situation or event
  • Being punctual
  • Taking care in appearance
  • Setting a good tone

Finding Vaughn

“After serving my country for six years, I knew it was time to explore my opportunities in the civilian world,” Silva declared. “I had no doubt my future would be in aviation.” In 2019, he enrolled in Vaughn’s associate in occupational studies program, where he received his airframe and powerplant (A&P) certification. “I knew it would be an adjustment transitioning from military to civilian life, but Vaughn made me feel right at home.” Silva said he joined the Veteran’s Club, where he was welcomed by fellow veterans who—like him—made the decision to pursue a career in aviation. He mentioned how one of his favorite activities at Vaughn was joining the aircraft maintenance competition team (AMC) where he—along with his teammates—competed against other airline employees in the field.

Shortly after graduating with his associate in occupational studies degree, Silva was hired by Endeavor Air, where he worked as an aircraft mechanic. (Endeavor Air is a subsidiary of Delta Air Lines that operates 151 regional jets on 700 daily flights to the United States, Canada and the Caribbean). While at this job, he decided to take his education one step further and enrolled in Vaughn’s Bachelor of Science in Aviation Maintenance Management program while continuing to work at the company which had slowed down considerably due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “I wanted to further my education for my future,” Silva enthusiastically stated. “The aviation management degree will position me to be one step ahead of other aircraft mechanics. I know it will pay off when the time is right.” He explained that working and attending college was challenging at the beginning, but having the support of a great team and attending classes remotely during the pandemic made it easier.

Landing the job at Delta Air Lines

Once airlines resumed service after the height of the pandemic, Silva left Endeavor Air and accepted an aircraft mechanic position at Delta Air Lines, where he works the nightshift at LaGuardia Airport. “My experience and track record as a mechanic at Endeavor made for a smooth transition to Delta,” he said. He was able to use the connections he made at Vaughn and in the field to land the position. Silva noted how Delta does not have separate avionics (electronics) teams, the mechanics do everything, which has helped him round out his skillset and become more marketable in the future.

Increasing demand for aircraft mechanics

Silva emphasized that all airlines—from regional to commercial—are hiring aircraft mechanics. “The industry needs workers—especially mechanics,” he said. “It’s an exciting industry—especially with the way technology is playing a role in our jobs.” He explained that technology is changing the platform for the future of aviation on many levels. For example, in a job that at one time simply required a wrench, aircraft mechanics are now using their laptops to troubleshoot the issue. “Delta provides training in Atlanta on the latest updates in technology,” Silva explained. “It’s an exciting time to work in the industry.”

When asked about working toward a management position, Silva explained that even though it’s quite a journey toward landing a managerial role, he’s proud that he has his bachelor’s degree in his back pocket for when the time comes. These are the steps it takes:

  1. Lead mechanic
  2. Shift manager
  3. Base manager
  4. Regional manager

Silva’s advice to students

“Explore all avenues. There are resources—and colleges like Vaughn—to help you get to where you want to be.” Silva said students should keep these benefits in mind if they are considering a career as an aircraft mechanic:

  • Incredible job security
  • Lots of room for growth
  • A long ladder of opportunity to climb to the top of the industry

He closed with this sentiment: “Even though it might seem like a long road—to see the light at the end of the tunnel—it comes up fast. Don’t give up on your dream.”

Listen to the podcast in its entirety here.

Thinking about becoming an aircraft mechanic? Attend our Open House on Saturday, March 18, where you will learn about our futureproof degree programs in aviation, engineering and technology and management. Register now.


In our fifth episode of Futureproof Focus, Dr. Sharon B. DeVivo, president of Vaughn College and host of the podcast, sat down with Gagandeep Munder ’14, captain at Delta Connection, for an inspiring conversation about how he broke barriers to pursue his dream of becoming a pilot. Read on to learn how his passion for aviation landed him in the captain’s seat.

A passion for aviation

From an early age, Gagandeep, who grew up in India, expressed a love for aviation. When he was 11 years old, his family moved to New York, where he became obsessed with watching the airplanes take off and land at LaGuardia Airport. “I knew I wanted to become a pilot, but no one took me seriously,” said Gagandeep. “Being a pilot is frowned upon in my country, and my family thought I would outgrow my passion for aviation.” Following his dream, Gagandeep enrolled at Vaughn College at the age of 19, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Aircraft Operations. “Attending Vaughn was the best decision for me. I loved being surrounded by others who share the same passion for aviation as I do.”

His path to the captain’s seat

After graduating from Vaughn in 2014, Gagandeep had his certifications in place to begin working as a flight instructor. He explained how he worked seven days a week—always keeping his eye on the sky for the opportunity to transition from flight instructor to the flight deck. In 2016, his dream came true when he accepted an offer from Endeavor Air/Delta Connection. “At 23 years old, I was flying a jet. It was surreal,” he said. “At that moment, I was humbled that my love for aviation led me to stay true to my dream.” Two years later, he was promoted to captain.

Breaking barriers

At the age of 25, he was living his dream. Gagandeep was asked by Dr. DeVivo what it was like to make the transition from the right seat (as co-pilot) to the left seat (as captain)—as a person from an underrepresented group.

“It was difficult at first,” he said. “I was only 25 years old and the only person who looked like me. “It was challenging, but it made me stronger,” he explained. “I was given the incredible opportunity to fly international routes as a captain. It inspires me every day to share my passion with the next generation of flight students to be the best they can be.”

Gagandeep’s advice and tips for students

Gagandeep offered some inspirational tips for success as a guide to underrepresented students:

  • Approach what you love as a shared passion—not by a skin tone or what a person looks like.
  • Work hard, stay determined, true to your passion—and you’ll be successful.

Landing the legacy seat

Now at 30 years old, Gagandeep is proud to say he has been hired by United Airlines, one of the three legacy industry carriers. “I wanted to be a part of a culture where there is room to grow,” he said. “United Airlines is that culture. It’s like family, where we are all on a first-name basis.” One of the biggest decisions, he said, was choosing what type of flying he wanted to do. Should he fly international or domestic? “At 30 years old, it is unimaginable that I will be flying the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. I can’t wait to begin training on this aircraft,” he said excitedly. As a first officer for United, Gagandeep has moved back to the right seat, and that’s just fine with him. “It’s a blessing to be working with experienced pilots on international flights,” he said. “I’ll be soaking up all their knowledge.”

When it comes to inspiring the younger generation of flight students, Gagandeep reminds them that it’s not about the stripes or status—it’s all about being safe. “You want to be ready for what’s ahead of you. Don’t rush, stay focused and learn as much as you can along the way.”

Gagandeep’s take on the in-demand need for pilots

The ongoing pilot shortage means that the best time to pursue a career in aviation is now. Gagandeep cited that United Airlines is hiring between 70 and 80 pilots each week, and is projected to hire approximately 15,000 more within the next 10 years. And that’s just for United.

If becoming a pilot is on your radar, here is a quick snapshot of the pathway to earning your wings as a captain:

  • Certified flight instructor
  • Co-pilot (right seat) at regional airline
  • Captain (left seat) at regional airline
  • Co-pilot (right seat) legacy airline
  • Work to transition to captain (left seat) legacy airline

Gagandeep explained that although the demand for pilots continues to grow, companies are very particular in their pilot selection process. “Airlines will not just hire anyone due to the shortage,” he stated. “There are certain qualities they look for that go beyond your qualifications.” Here are important characteristics that airlines seek during the pilot selection process:

  • Fitting the company culture
  • Possessing a positive attitude
  • Being hardworking and a people person
  • Representing the company in a positive light
  • Passing the company’s qualification/personality exam, which is used to gauge a candidate’s personality, demeanor, honesty and how he or she handles pressure

When it comes to becoming a pilot, Gagandeep is passionate about sharing his thoughts and experiences with the younger generation. “Becoming a pilot brings a sense of maturity and responsibility, both in the air and on the ground,” he said with great conviction. “Think about it: You’re responsible for the lives sitting behind you on the airplane. And when you’re not flying, you find that you carry yourself differently. You’re now representing the community and the airline. Being a pilot makes you do the right thing, no matter where you are.”

Watch the full podcast here.

Thinking about becoming a pilot? Read why now is the best time to pursue flight training if you want to become a pilot.

In this month’s episode, “Booming Aviation, Engineering and Management Job Markets: How Vaughn is Answering the Call,” Dr. Sharon B. DeVivo, president of Vaughn College and host of the podcast, Futureproof Focus, sat down with her colleague, Chaundra Daniels, director of career services, for an enlightening discussion about the booming job market in aviation, engineering and management, and how Vaughn is preparing its students to gain the competitive edge for landing positions in these in-demand fields

Daniels setting the pace for student success

With less than one year in her position as Vaughn’s director of career services, Daniels has brought a fresh perspective to the department by implementing innovative programs that are changing the face of student/employee relations. For more than 20 years, she has devoted her career to helping others develop their professional paths and employer relations skills. “Vaughn is the place to be,” said Daniels. “My passion is helping students find their passion and dream job.”

How Vaughn’s degree programs are fueling the job market

Dr. DeVivo opened the discussion by stating how Vaughn prepares its students for some of today’s most in-demand jobs. With hiring at record-setting levels in the fields of aerospace, aviation and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), she emphasized how Vaughn graduates have acquired the skills and are well-positioned to land careers in these booming job markets.

Daniels was excited to report that jobs in these fields are “pouring in.” “There is no shortage of jobs in our industry,” she said. “Employers are seeking out our students, knowing the value and credentials a Vaughn student brings to their company. This is the opportune time to be a Vaughn student.”  She further stated that Boeing just recently hired four of the College’s students. Daniels emphasized how—in addition to the job openings in the aforementioned fields—aviation maintenance technician jobs are also a crucial position being actively recruited now. “These technicians work behind the scenes to ensure the airplanes are safe to fly. Jobs like these—and others—are available across the board.”

Preparing students for success

Daniels was proud to say that Vaughn students are career-driven. “They know why they are here and what career they want for their future,” she said. And the College’s career services department is the hub where it all begins. “It’s important to engage with students early on—in their freshmen and sophomore years,” she said. “By working with them early, we can help them address any of their fears and sharpen their communication and networking skills.” Daniels explained the importance of meeting students where they are. “We want them to feel comfortable being able to present themselves and their skillset.” She went on to say that the career services department works with students to achieve these goals by offering an open-door policy that is designed around their schedules. This way, students can receive help with résumé development and interview preparation, among other career support tasks.

Making connections with Vaughn’s programs and partnerships

Preparing students for success is only one part of Vaughn’s mission. Helping them make the right connections to land their dream jobs is what Daniels does best. Employer Engagement Days—a program which she spearheaded—and other partnerships are helping Vaughn students land internships and jobs in their fields.

Employer Engagement Days

Last spring, Daniels kicked off Employer Engagement Days as a new initiative to streamline the employer engagement process for Vaughn students and industry leaders who are looking to hire. She explained how work is about building relationships and that these one-on-one meetings are proving successful for both employers and students who were seeking a more efficient and convenient way to meet by accommodating the schedules of both parties. “I developed Employer Engagement Days as a way to get employers back on campus after the pandemic,” Daniels said. She explained that the process is more casual and less stressful, thus allowing representatives from corporations to interview students on an individual basis—without the pressure and time constraints of traditional large networking events and career fairs. Employer Engagement Days helps to level the playing field, as it removes the competition and gives both the student and employer the time needed to determine if they are a good fit for each other.

JetBlue’s ‘University Gateway’ Pilot Pathway Program

Last summer, Vaughn partnered with JetBlue Airways as part of the airlines’ University Gateway Pilot Pathway Program. This groundbreaking, first-of-its-kind program allows aircraft operations students who attend Aviation Accreditation Board International (AABI) accredited institutions—such as Vaughn—to apply and interview for positions at JetBlue as they completed their college courses. You can check out the JetBlue University Gateway program requirements on the website.

LaGuardia Gateway Partners

Earlier this year, LaGuardia Gateway Partners approached Vaughn to set up an internship program where students could gain experience in the industry. “Early onset industry experience is so important,” Daniels stated. “Internship programs such as this is just another way Vaughn prepares its students and offers them opportunities for a successful future.”

Professional Development Workshop Series

Daniels is passionate about helping students build the confidence and resilience they need to present themselves in the best possible light and articulate who they are. Here are some of the ways in which career services helps students to achieve these goals:

  • Industry résumé building
  • Effective interviewing
  • Networking and conferences

Dr. DeVivo added that the student experience offered at Vaughn sets the College apart from other institutions. “We support our students emotionally, financially and socially,” she said. “These programs and conferences are great pathways to their careers.”

The industry’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion

Dr. DeVivo stated that over the last several years, Vaughn has seen companies commit to hiring individuals from diverse backgrounds. Daniels replied that it isn’t as much about how employees are meeting diversity as we know it, but it should be regarded rather as a “diversity of thought.” She explained that—from a humanity perspective—it’s all about hiring the best person for the job. “Diversity is not easy,” Daniels said. “It’s a communication and personality issue. If employers seek candidates based on what they bring to the table—their unique talents—they’ll win every time.”

Dr. DeVivo’s tip of the month

Dr. DeVivo concluded the conversation with a wrap-up tip of the month: “The key to landing a great career is seizing opportunities early by establishing relationships with employers as part of your educational journey.”

You can listen to the podcast in its entirety here.

Thinking about becoming a pilot? Read about why now is the best time to pursue your degree.

Does your passion lie STEM-related fields? Read why Gen Z students are choosing STEM as a top career choice.

Want to learn more about becoming an aviation technician? Read why aviation maintenance degrees are fueling great career opportunities.

In this month’s episode, “Top Health and Wellness Tips for College Students,” Dr. Sharon B. DeVivo, president of Vaughn College and host of the podcast Futureproof Focus, sat down with her colleagues, Dr. Stacey Dutil, director of counseling and wellness, and Omari Wright, athletics Coordinator, for a candid discussion about the mental health of today’s college students and how Vaughn is helping its students stay well, both mentally and physically.

Students’ outlook is looking up

Despite the ongoing mental health and wellness issues reported by students across college campuses, both Dr. Dutil and Wright agree they are seeing an improvement at Vaughn, post-pandemic. “Vaughn students are resilient,” said Dutil. “There’s less stigma surrounding mental health today, as students are more open to talk about it.” And when it comes to diversity, Vaughn has a unique population of students which sets it apart from other college campuses. From first-generation college students and veterans to single parents and those juggling full-time jobs, Vaughn students have their own set of challenges to cope with. “Overall, (post-pandemic) we’re seeing our students’ ability to be more social, and that has a huge impact on their mental health.,” Dr. Dutil said.

What is “imposter syndrome?”

Dr. DeVivo raises the question about “imposter syndrome” as a real challenge that students are facing. This is especially for students who are entering fields dominated by those different from themselves. Thoughts such as, ‘I don’t belong here,’ or ‘You have to see it to be it,’ are sparking conversation to do a better job at demonstrating that everyone is credible and qualified. Fields such as engineering and technology, for example, are male dominated—and predominantly white. For students who don’t fit this profile—but have passion for the field—Dr. Dutil said it’s important to encourage them to build a supportive network through mentorships and clubs and societies with people who look like them and who understand their experience. “It makes a huge difference,” Dr. Dutil said.

Athletic Coordinator Wright weighed in on the topic with a unique angle. “I use athletics to teach life,” said Wright. “It’s about teamwork and working with people from different backgrounds. You have to grow through it and create a community of encouragement and positive energy to find purpose and a sense of belonging with people who look like you.”

How Vaughn is helping students

As Director of Counseling and Wellness at Vaughn for the past four years, Dr. Dutil said helping students of diverse cultures is all about speaking a universal language. “You have to meet people where they are,” she said. “It’s all about building a rapport and having a conversation. When you sit them down, their fear and shame go away.” Here are some of the ways the counseling and wellness department helps Vaughn students:

  • Food pantry: Meet the basic needs of students without any barriers.
  • Case management: Help students with issues such as housing and benefits.
  • Wellness committee: Colleagues collaborate to identify students who have challenges and take a holistic approach to helping them.
  • Residence life: Work with students who may be under distress about being away from home.
  • Guest speakers: Book guest speakers who address wellness and mental health issues.
  • Wellness challenge: Organize fun events to keep students engaged.

From a sports perspective, Wright organized several programs to keep students physically and mentally fit. Here are some of the ways he accomplishes this:

  • Virtual world wellness programs: Organizing boot camps and yoga sessions (women only) to help students with self-expression.
  • Recreational programs: E-sports is a popular platform where students can find areas where they fit in to explore their own talents.

Women’s Warrior Program

Created by Wright, this program was inspired by his mother, who raised him and his three siblings as a single parent. “I wanted to create a stronger infrastructure around women—a community outside of athletics,” he said. It’s based around the notion that: “There’s nothing I can’t do if given the opportunity to do so.” Wright believes: “If you want to go fast through life, then you go by yourself, but if you want to go far in life, then you go with a team.” Here are the highlights and goals of the Women’s Warrior Program for the 2022-2023 school year:

  • Galvanize school spirit: Help different departments create a buzz and awareness of campus events.
  • Get experience and work in different departments: Get your foot in the door and gain experience to include on your résumé.
  • Community service: Get Vaughn’s name out in the community and surround people with positivity. Helps students become well-rounded and gain experience to put on their résumés.

Wellness tips for students

As the fall semester kicks off, Dr. Dutil and Wright are excited to share some of their best wellness tips to prepare students for a great school year ahead.

Dr. Dutil: Be proactive about your mental health and wellness.

  • Don’t wait until you’re in a crisis. Come see us early and get to know us and our services.
  • Have a contingency plan—Preparing for Plan B is always a good idea. You never want to take for granted how things will turn out. Having a contingency plan can help reduce stress and get you to refocus.

Wright: Success is a planned event.

  • Networking can help you find where you belong.
  • Staying active every day helps with your mental and physical well-being. Setting small goals leads to large victories.

Dr. DeVivo concluded the conversation with a tip of her own: “Believe in yourself. You’re way more resilient than you think you are.”

You can watch the podcast in its entirety here.

Read more about how to stay mentally healthy in college here. Feeling a little stressed? Read about how to find your balance here.

In the first episode of our new podcast, Futureproof Focus, Dr. Sharon B. DeVivo, president of Vaughn College and host of the podcast, sat down with Vaughn graduate Kirei Watson ’18 for an enlightening conversation about breaking barriers and following your dreams. Sit back to hear how Kirei is forging new pathways as she takes us on her journey that led to her current job at Collins Aerospace.

A passion for aviation

From an early age, Kirei was obsessed with earth science and dreamed of becoming a pilot. While in high school, she attended an open house at Vaughn. This open house visit opened her eyes to a futureproof career in aviation. As a first step to “getting her feet wet in the field,” Kirei enrolled at Vaughn, where she earned an Associate of Applied Science in Aeronautical Engineering Technology. Her drive to become a pilot shifted toward engineering, and on the advice of one of her professors, Kirei switched gears and went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. Through it all, however, she remained focused on pursuing a career in aviation.

Embracing diversity

As a Black woman in a male-dominated field, Kirei knew she would have to work to break barriers in order to get to where she wanted to be. She credits Vaughn for being an institution of diversity and said she never felt like she didn’t belong. “My passion and obsession of being analytical drove me to overcome adversity,” Kirei said. And like Dr. DeVivo says, “Diversity is Vaughn’s superpower!”

Attending professional conferences such as the National Society of Black Engineers and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers was a pivotal point in her college career. “It was overwhelming at first to see so many attendees from across the country, but then I realized there’s other people here just like me. It was very insightful.”

Landing the job at Collins Aerospace

Kirei discovered Collins Aerospace while attending the Society for Hispanic Professional Engineers national convention. She explained how the “everything but the engine” approach was what excited her the most about working at Collins. Currently, Kirei has the position of engineering and technology rotational program engineer. “Working at Collins was a no-brainer!” she said. As part of the rotational program, she works with a mentor who guides her in which jobs to take. “I pick the jobs I want to work on which is great,” she explained.

She is currently working in San Diego, California, and said she loves how the rotational program allows her to gain knowledge and experience in many aspects of engineering—especially learning about the consumer side of the industry. From a diversity point of view, she said Collins gave her a sense of belonging—despite being a minority. Of the company’s 15,000 employees, only 322 are Black women, Kirei noted. “It’s rewarding to know that you’re breaking barriers,” she said. “It’s all about your passion, being fully invested in what you believe in and knowing that what you bring to the table matters.”

How Vaughn prepared her for success

Kirei said she wouldn’t be where she is today without the support and guidance of her Vaughn professors and mentors. She describes one of her standout moments at Vaughn being when a professor explained how it’s important to be “…intentional with what you’re studying.” It’s all about knowing how to execute the step-by-step process.

Her advice to aspiring engineers

Kirei believes that being honest with yourself is one of the most important ways to get to where you want to be. She mentions the “imposter syndrome” as something she experienced when she first took the job. “It’s intimidating at first when no one looks like you.” The key to staying, she said, is to remember that you earned your place.

Her advice to any Black woman who has a dream or passion: “Just do it! Let the passion drive you.”

You can watch the podcast in its entirety here.

Read more about how Kirei landed her dream job here.