NAVAIR

NAWCAD hosts Disability Mentoring Day for local students, job seekers

Mentees from Southern Maryland gather with current NAVAIR employees and mentors at a Disability Mentoring Day event in Patuxent River, Md., Oct. 25. (U.S. Navy photo)

Mentees from Southern Maryland gather with current NAVAIR employees and mentors at a Disability Mentoring Day event in Patuxent River, Md., Oct. 25. (U.S. Navy photo)

Nov 8, 2017

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Robin Locksley, far right, co-champion of NAVAIR’s Individuals with Disabilities Action Team, addresses mentors and mentees at a Disability Mentoring Day event in Patuxent River, Md., Oct. 25. The event brought Southern Maryland high school and college students, as well as other local job seekers, to Naval Air Station Patuxent River to network with and shadow current NAVAIR employees and learn about potential job opportunities. (U.S. Navy photo)

Robin Locksley, far right, co-champion of NAVAIR’s Individuals with Disabilities Action Team, addresses mentors and mentees at a Disability Mentoring ...

NAVAL AIR WARFARE CENTER AIRCRAFT DIVISION, PATUXENT RIVER, Md. — Ten high school, college students and job seekers from Southern Maryland had the chance to discover future career opportunities and expand their network during Disability Mentoring Day Oct. 25.

This event helped the students and job seekers learn about the command’s day-to-day operations and the qualifications needed to be considered for future employment. Each participant was paired with a mentor from various areas of the command to network and meet other members of the organization. The day also included a bus tour of Naval Air Station Patuxent River.

“We span just about any career field you might want,” said Robin Locksley, director, Flight Test Engineering Integrated Systems Evaluation, Experimentation and Test Department. “You can build friends, networks and relationships, all without leaving one place.”

Imala Moore Adusei, a student at Henry E. Lackey High School in Indian Head, Maryland, shadowed Radar and Acoustics Branch Head Michael Schultz for the day. An aspiring engineer with an interest in math and science, Adusei toured the Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX-1), which tests and evaluates airborne anti-submarine warfare and maritime anti-surface warfare weapon systems.

On the way to Schultz’s office, he led her through two hangar bays, the first containing several MH-60 Seahawk helicopters and a second containing a P-8. It was Adusei’s first time on a military installation.

“I take three engineering classes: aerospace, electronics digital design, engineering design and development,” she said. “I wasn’t at first [into engineering], but since I started learning about the design process, what engineers do, it interested me.”

She impressed Schultz by asking him about Kirchhoff's circuit laws.

“That’s very interesting that you’re getting into that stuff as a senior in high school,” he said. “Because I didn’t even know what that was until I was in college.”

In his role as branch head, Schultz manages approximately 30 flight test engineers. He served in the Navy for nine years and later worked for the Department of Homeland Security before coming to NAVAIR.

“As an engineer, you can pretty much go anywhere, which is part of what I like about it,” he told Adusei. “I’m a civilian now, but I like that my work is still supporting the Navy and the country.”

Leslie Taylor, NAWCAD executive director and the deputy assistant commander for Test and Evaluation, reiterated the importance of mentoring at the lunch-and-learn portion of the event.

“A mentor is all about you,” she said. “We’re big into that; we care greatly about that.” NAVAIR’s Mentoring Program, established in 2007, offers speed and group mentoring, training, a playbook and an online tool, iMentor, to help match mentors with mentees.

Mentee Kimberly Donis said she enjoyed “learning about and being shown the different employment opportunities that are available to me based on my skills, knowledge and education.”

Travis Bugarski, a mentee, agreed and said he was happy with his experiences during the day and the “cool things” he saw.

“It seems the command is putting effort into getting more employees with disabilities,” he noted.

The day was co-sponsored by the NAWCAD Special Recruitment Branch and the NAWCAD Individuals with Disabilities Action Team, which was established in 2006 to help recruit and retain individuals with disabilities. Individuals with targeted disabilities make up 0.8 percent of the NAVAIR civilian workforce.

Locksley, one of the team’s co-champions, said individuals with disabilities are often an underrepresented part of diversity.

“We have a lot of work to do to continue to raise awareness and offer opportunity,” he said. “We need everybody’s ideas and input.”

Learn more about NAVAIR's Individuals with Disabilities Program.

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Michael Schultz, left, a radar and acoustics branch head, shows Imala Moore Adusei, a student at Henry E. Lackey High School, an MH-60S Seahawk as part of a Disability Mentoring Day event in Patuxent River, Md., Oct. 25. (U.S. Navy photo)

Michael Schultz, left, a radar and acoustics branch head, shows Imala Moore Adusei, a student at Henry E. Lackey High School, an MH-60S Seahawk as par ...

“I feel a great sense of reward every day,” Leslie Taylor, the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division executive director and deputy assistant commander for Test and Evaluation, tells mentees as part of a Disability Mentoring Day event in Patuxent River, Md., Oct. 25. Taylor explained the benefits of working for the Navy and the various types of jobs offered at NAVAIR. (U.S. Navy photo)

“I feel a great sense of reward every day,” Leslie Taylor, the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division executive director and deputy assistant comm ...

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