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Elbit America eyes nearby universities for future talent through engineering competitions, mentorships

By Summer Richie, Elbit America Communications Intern

By sponsoring design projects and competitions at the university-level, Elbit Systems of America (Elbit America) gains access to new talent and ideas, while students benefit from working with engineers who are solving complex problems in the realms of defense, commercial aviation, homeland security, and beyond. The situation is a win-win for all. During this recent academic year, Elbit America sponsored engineering design projects at the University of Arizona (UA) and the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) and the results were positive.

 Elbit America’s continued engagement with universities increases awareness of the company among burgeoning engineers. Elbit America Technical Director Jeremie Jackson served as the mentor of the UA team and their design project this year. He said the vast majority of graduating students learn about our company at recruiting events held at their universities or through sponsorships related to their capstone projects.

 “Mentoring is clearly an educational opportunity for the students, but those students also become our internal ambassadors, along with our various interns, at their respective schools,” Jackson said.

 “The university students generate an excitement for what it means to work with Elbit America that, we believe, supports our ongoing recruitment efforts. When one of our sponsored teams ‘wins’ a Design Day challenge and receives recognition for best manufacturability for their concept, that’s just the icing on the cake,” Jackson added.

 The UA team’s project, BRITE, short for Blinding Resonant Incapacitating Throwable Emitter, is an eye-safe, re-deployable, electronic flash bang grenade and was designed by an interdisciplinary team of six senior engineering students. During the 2021-2022 school year, the BRITE team went through the design process patterned after the industry with a systems requirement review, a preliminary design review, a critical design review, integration and testing to deliver a working protype built to Elbit America’s specifications.

 After a presentation to a panel of judges who reviewed more than 100 team projects at the UA Design Day Showcase, BRITE won the top prize, the Most Outstanding Project, and a prize for manufacturing readiness.

 Elbit America’s Vice President of Engineering Tiffany Nesbit said the BRITE project was shared with Elbit America’s business development team for evaluation to see whether it could be leveraged as a future capability offered to customers.

 Nesbit said, “Our mentors give student teams a project, which has an objective, and the teams have to use skills from many different subject areas to develop a solution. It gives the students an opportunity to think about a real-world problem and get a taste of what it’s like to be an engineer.”

 Six senior computer science and engineering majors from UTA were also sponsored by Elbit America for an engineering design project this spring. This team designed a remotely piloted drone named Project APT, short for Aerial Penetration System, that performs network analysis and vulnerability exploitations on target systems. Elbit America Cyber and Network Engineering Director Van Thai said this project provides local students the opportunity to explore the fun side of cyber security – offensive cyber and exploitation in a safe and controlled environment. 

“The University of Texas at Arlington is a local university, so having an open line of communication with them helps our ongoing cyber and engineering recruitment efforts,” Thai said. “We definitely want to continue this relationship and we want to build upon the capabilities this team has prepared.”

 Elbit America hired a design project student from UTA as a software engineering intern and is actively recruiting more. Nesbit said as Elbit America continues to work and maintain relationships with universities, students have the opportunity to immerse themselves in Elbit America’s company culture.

“We enjoy working with universities and find it very rewarding to see the students’ excitement, while watching them learn. It is even more rewarding when they graduate and join us as permanent employees,” Nesbit said.

Elbit America is always looking for talented individuals to join our workforce. View open positions today at https://www.elbitamerica.com/careers.