When he pictured his future, Emile N. always saw himself working in the medical field. Today, the IT professional is grateful Sierra Space hired him on as an intern before making him a full-time employee last year. Going from intern to full-time employee isn’t always the easiest transition, but Emile credits his mentor and a supportive team to setting him up for success. We chatted with him about that conversion, how is local alumni prepared him for life outside of college and how his grandmother’s support helped him land where he is today.
You started at Sierra Space as an intern- how did you transition from intern to full-time employee?
Interning for Sierra Space was a unique opportunity for me because it helped me learn how to problem solve, interact with people and have a better understanding of the IT and space industries. I enjoyed my internship experience and wanted to stay with Sierra Space to continue learning and expanding my skills as an IT professional.
After graduating from college, I was presented an opportunity to work on a companywide project and traveled to some of our different locations across the country. When my contract was over, I was offered any opportunity to come back work with my IT team as a full-time employee, where I continue to learn and grow.
Did any Sierra Space employee help you with that transition? How?
Each and every one of my teammates invested their time to provide me with the mentorship and guidance that helped set me up for success in my transition process. My IT team welcomed me into their family and educated me about the processes within Sierra Space. My internship mentor worked very closely with me on daily basis. He was always willing to answer my questions and gave me career development advice that corresponded with my career goals in Information Technology.
You attended Metro State University (MSU) - how did that school prepare you for your professional career?
I am a proud member of the Roadrunners family! I think MSU Denver prepared me for my professional career by teaching me multitasking, teamwork and the base knowledge of IT that I needed. Because of the skills I learned in my undergraduate studies, I can easily put theory into practice in my everyday work settings.
How long have you worked at Sierra Space? Did you always imagine yourself working in aerospace?
I have been working for Sierra Space since May of 2020. Growing up in Africa, I was excited about technology, but I had little to no access to computers until I moved to the United States in 2015. When I started high school, I wanted to pursue a medical degree because my mother worked in nursing, and I felt I would follow in her shoes.
In the summer of 2016, I attended the Northeast Denver Leadership Week where I learned about other career opportunities outside of the medical field. It was during this week that IT got my attention and I decided I was going to pursue further education in Information Technology.
When I began college, I was working as a Public Safety Cadet for the city and county of Denver, but I was still interested in computer information systems. Towards the end of my junior year of college, I decided to stop working as a public safety cadet to look for an IT internship and Sierra Space had an excellent opportunity in their Support Service program. Aerospace was not where I had planned to end up, but every day, I am grateful for the opportunity of continuing learning about the space industry.
You work in Sierra Space’s IT department- what’s a day in the life like?
I come into work every day ready to support my end users. Every day comes with new and exciting challenges ranging from checking our incident ticket queue, addressing urgent issues, to setting up new hires’ computers to ensure everything is ready for them before their welcome to Sierra Space IT briefing. We install and license applications, image systems, investigate and resolve computer problems, support conference room devices, run IT new employee orientation, manage IT assets, and provide IT related peripherals to our end users. Additionally, we complete specialized IT projects for the company as requested by our leadership.
What’s your favorite thing about working at Sierra Space?
My favorite things about working at Sierra Space is to being able to help others by providing technical support. Working with the Sierra Space’s support services team presents me with a unique opportunity to interact with our amazing end users to resolve their IT related problems so that they can do their job efficiently. Every time I am able to help an end user, I feel very accomplished knowing that I am supporting them in their roles within the company.
If you could go to space with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
If I could go to space, I would bring my grandmother, Mikah Irene; may her humble soul continue to rest in peace. I grew up looking up to my grandmother and always trying to copy everything my uncles were doing because of how well my grandma raised them. She was very caring and honest to all of us. Some of her children thought that she gave me extra attention, but why wouldn’t she? I was her only grandchild for more than 15 years! While I was attending college, she never stopped motivating me. I remember telling her during my junior year in college that I wanted to graduate a semester early, and she never gave it a second thought. I am glad I did, because I graduated in time for her to be there for my graduation before passing.
I would take her to space because she understood me better than most and I am certain that our journey to space will be full of laughs and exciting experiences.
What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not at work?
I spend a lot of my free time working out, studying for IT certifications to expand my skill set, and spending time with my friends and family. I also play soccer for Colorado Veteran Soccer Club.
Interested in joining the Sierra Space team? Apply today at sierraspace.com/careers.