STEM Professional of the week

Susana Guerra      
Rockwell Collins

Born with a joyful, fighting spirit, Susana Guerra spent her early years braving the tough streets of the Southside of Chicago. Her parents migrated from Mexico to the United States in pursuit of the American Dream, and in the process instilled in her the act of persevering and hard work.

At the age of 10, Susana and her family moved to a less than diverse neighborhood in the suburbs of her newly adopted city. This proved to be a new challenge for Susana, as she struggled to find her place as the only Latina in the school − all while still learning to dominate the English language. Along with these challenges came repeated bullying by other students, which could have inspired a defeatist attitude, but instead she channeled that negative energy and transformed it into ambition and a desire to keep excelling in school. By  high school, Susana would soon face another setback. Her parents divorced and her mother left the house leaving Susana to take on roles as both sibling and mother to her younger siblings. She continued to push forward, playing on her high school’s varsity soccer team and worked a part time job on weekends. Susana’s hard work did not go unnoticed. She was inducted into the National Honor Society in her junior year of high school and graduated in the top 10% of her high school class with honors – setting herself up for a new chapter as a college student. 

After high school, Susana decided to pursue her passion for math, science and building things. She chose to attend DeVry University in Chicago to focus on her engineering studies. Her eagerness to succeed and desire to grow in every aspect of her life guided Susana throughout school and in 2006, she became a college graduate – earning a bachelor’s degree in electronics engineering technology and soon would embark on her professional career.

Susana spent the first four years of her professional life as a Systems Test Engineer for General Dynamics in Minnesota. In 2011, she transitioned from Government Systems to Aerospace when she was hired by Rockwell Collins as a Network Engineer Lead where she has remained ever since. In 2013, Susana was promoted to Systems Engineer for the company’s Airborne Information Solutions Team where she currently serves as an integration and test lead for the Information Management Air-Ground Communication Systems (IMACS) systems group. Her duties include, lead systems verification testing for software and sub-systems of moderate complexity and contribute to system integration and interacting with cross-functional engineering teams and the customer Airbus France for system verification. Susana also works closely with program management in generating requirement bids. 

Susana’s passion to serve as a STEM role model and her drive for being involved with the Hispanic community has grown stronger as she advances in her career. She is the Cedar Rapids President of the Latino Employee Network (LEN) and serves as an active board member of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers of Eastern Iowa. She also introduces events and activities that supports the group’s mission of Professional Development, Cultural Awareness, Community Involvement and Health & Wellness.  

Highly motivated, with a constant knack for continuous personal development, Susana is currently enrolled in Aviation school in pursuit of a private pilot’s license. She serves at her church in the local community and enjoys reading, kick-boxing, flying, cooking and traveling.

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