From Student to Mentor
Raytheon Introduced Erick Aponte to Engineering. Now He'd Like to Return the Favor
WALTHAM, Mass., Aug. 26, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- In high school, Erick Aponte was in a program where Raytheon mentors introduced students to careers in math and science.
It must have worked. Aponte, a 2010 graduate of Lawrence High School in Lawrence, Massachusetts, became an engineer and in the spring, started a new job at Raytheon. He now works in the company's Failure Analysis lab in Andover, Massachusetts.
Aponte gives a lot of credit to the people he met through Stand and Deliver, the Raytheon-sponsored mentoring program.
"It establishes a great student connection with Raytheon and makes students want to keep coming back in order to achieve an internship with the company," Aponte said. "For me, it ended with a full-time job."
Stand and Deliver is one of a host of Raytheon-sponsored programs that steer students toward the science, technology, engineering and math fields. Those efforts include:
- Teacher professional development and grants, including the Engineering is Elementary Teacher Scholarship and Math Hero Awards.
- Mentoring programs such as the Girls Mentoring Program, LASER, and Math Nights.
- MathAlive!, an interactive, hands-on exhibit, that engages visitors in STEM activities. It will open at the Dallas Perot Museum in Texas on September 24.
Aponte was planning to study business in college when his Lawrence High calculus teacher recommended Stand and Deliver. Around the same time, he joined the school robotics team and began to consider an engineering career instead. His mentors and program director Terri Munson encouraged him.
"They helped me complete homework, write college applications and research the best university engineering programs," Aponte said.
Aponte attended the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, graduating with a degree in electrical engineering. Eager for real-world experience, he reached out to his contacts at Raytheon. They helped him secure internships in software engineering and in the electrical engineering lab where he works today.
Aponte has quickly proven his technical capabilities to the Raytheon lab's experienced engineers. One recent workday, Aponte utilized infrared imaging to detect hotspots on circuit boards, created three dimensional microscopic renderings and de-soldered individual circuit components.
Now, Aponte plans to come full circle and become a Stand and Deliver mentor himself. "I've spoken at their capstone event in the past, and I know it's something I want to be more of a part of," he says. "I'd like to get matched with a younger student and coach them throughout their high school career."