STEM Professional of the week

Monica R. Chavez      
Raytheon Company

Senior Principal Software Engineer, Intelligence & Information Systems

Raytheon Company

As a Senior Principal Software Engineer, Monica Chavez oversees an organization of 100 software engineers on the Global Positioning System (GPS-OCX) program, one of the largest and most important on Raytheon’s Aurora Campus.  Ms. Chavez is the department manager of this $6 billion program, and although she’s been in her current position for a short amount of time, there is excitement about the impact she’s bringing to the software engineering organization.  She has been promoted five times in her twelve years at Raytheon, and she’s consistently excelled in her career and gained the respect of her peers for her technical and leadership contributions.

The daughter of two educators, Ms. Chavez was born and raised in New Mexico by parents who instilled a strong work ethic and a solid appreciation for education.  Though an excellent scholar, student leader and athlete, her smooth road through high school was interrupted when she became a mother at sixteen.  Instead of deterring this young woman, her situation served as a potent new source of inspiration to pursue her academic dreams.  With the support of her parents, she finished high school and graduated as valedictorian of her senior class.  She went on to earn two bachelor degrees from the New Mexico Institute of Mining & Technology.  Later in her career, she would add a master’s degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Ms. Chavez began her career as a Software Engineer with Raytheon in 2001, and quickly moved up to Software Engineer II, a year ahead of schedule.  She worked on classified national security-related projects to help our government keep our country safe in the new post-9/11 world.   Ms. Chavez found herself taking on progressively more important leadership and management positions in this field.

In 2007, Ms. Chavez participated in the System Engineering Technical Development Program, the only engineer from the Aurora campus to do so.  Her team’s findings on Hierarchical Sensor Resource Management in Raytheon’s Ballistic Missile Defense System won top honors from a panel of Raytheon’s Leadership team.

In addition to her engineering and leadership abilities, Ms. Chavez takes pride in her efforts to support the next generation of STEM professionals.  She’s very active in with the Raytheon Company’s employee resource groups. Through membership and leadership positions in organizations such as the Hispanic Organization for Leadership and Advancement and the Raytheon Women’s Network, she volunteers her time with programs that target women and underrepresented students.   In addition to spreading the message of STEM, she leads in various efforts that support the local community.

Outside of work, Ms. Chavez strives to play an active role in raising her kids and enjoys spending time with her family, especially for sports events.  She is happily married and has an 18-year-old son, a 3-year-old daughter, and 6 month old twins.

She has a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering and a Bachelor of Science degree in business management with an emphasis on technology, both from the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, and a Master of Science degree in engineering management from the University of Colorado at Boulder.  Ms. Chavez is the recipient of the 2012 HENAAC Most Promising Engineer or Scientist Master’s Degree – Industry award.

© TECHNiCA Magazine

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