Employee Spotlight – Ivy Liu
Tell us a little bit about yourself (include family info)?
I grew up in the Maryland suburbs and went to school in College Park, MD (go Terps), getting a degree in Electrical Engineering. Then I attended grad school at Hopkins for a Master’s in Information Systems Engineering to successfully round out my nerdom.
Also, I will never turn down a good IPA (am I supposed to be keeping this PG?).
As a Software Engineer or Systems Engineer at Northstrat, what is your daily routine like? Or is there one?
I’ve been fortunate in my career at Northstrat where I’ve been able to put on different hats and go between software and systems engineering. As a software engineer, it is satisfying to be technical and create something out of nothing, seeing some type of functionality that was formerly not there. As a systems engineer, there is less of a routine, since systems engineering can cover such a wide base of skills and tasks—requirements, design, integration, test, deployment, and O&M. While it can be unpredictable, it’s also fun to show up and be challenged with something different every day.
What aspect of your job do you enjoy most?
The fact that I am helping to create tangible, comprehensive solutions that are used in the field to support real missions. I also love that engineering can take you places, literally and figuratively. More specifically, deploying to Afghanistan was a unique opportunity that allowed me to see and do things that I could not have accomplished anywhere else.
What do you enjoy most about working for Northstrat?
The culture and the people. The leadership really sets an incredibly positive tone for the company, making everyone feel like they are part of a bigger family and not just a cog in the wheel. Knowing that someone cares and is there to support you goes a long way.
What made you decide to become a Software Engineer?
I’ve always had an affinity for building and fixing things. Legos, Tinkertoys, and an Erector Set were my favorite toys from childhood. I remember any time I started making something, I would not stop until it was finished. I ended up attending a magnet middle school and really enjoyed the curriculum. However, I then attended a liberal arts high school, hoping to round myself out and explore what I may have been missing. But after four years, come time to select a college major, I still could not pry myself away from engineering and knew that was the way to go.
Did/do you have a mentor? Tell us about that person.
No. I just bug certain people who I know are too nice to tell me to go away 😀
Any advice for young people who want to pursue STEM?
The best thing to do is to have an open mind and never stop learning—about everything, whether it’s the arts, sports, culture, etc. Even if something on the surface may not be related to STEM, exposing yourself to different domains, knowledge, and skillsets opens up opportunities to work your mind, see things form a different perspective, and analyze the way things work, which is the core of engineering.