As a project engineer senior with Lockheed Martin in Grand Prairie, Texas, I'Nita White travels back and forth between Texas and Hot Springs regularly to volunteer and serve as a board member for The Giving Team, Inc.
The Giving Team, Inc. is an important organization to White not only because the organization's founder, Janice Davis, is White's godmother, but also because she believes in what the organization stands for, which includes serving those who are underprivileged, she said.
"As a young child, at a very young age, giving back to my community was instilled in me," she said.
"So, that's kind of grown over these 32 years, and I just have a willingness and a want and a desire to give back to the community, whether it's here or in Texas. But specifically here, I like giving back because I love Hot Springs. It has made me who I am and who I'm gonna be in the future. And, I feel like if my steppingstones started here, my building blocks, it's only right for me to give back."
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She's now been with Lockheed Martin for six years, she said. The Hot Springs native graduated from Hot Springs High School, now known as Hot Springs World Class High School, before obtaining a bachelor's degree in hospitality from Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University in 2013.
She then obtained a master's degree in manufacturing systems management under the umbrella of mechanical engineering from Southern Methodist University in Texas in May 2021.
"It wasn't me at all," she said. "I have to give all of that to God. I wanted to be a director of hospitality for, like, a major league team or a big venue even, like the Hot Springs Convention Center, right? Because I'm all about giving back. But, God had another plan for me, and that was to be an engineer."
She first acquired her job with Lockheed Martin through networking, she said. When she found out many of her skills through hospitality transfer to logistics, she started in logistics at Lockheed Martin and has made her way up to project management and engineering since.
"I believe my role as a senior project engineer has an impact," White said. "And I say that because engineering is a predominantly male-driven field, and as a woman of color as an engineer, that allows me to share my story, so that I can plant seeds of STEM in boys and girls of all different ethnicities to let them know that if you want to be an engineer, you can be an engineer."
One of White's goals for the future includes getting involved with the local school systems and sharing with students STEM activities and lessons about team and relationship building and other STEM aspects, she said.
"In school, college, master's Ph.D., however far you wanna go, it's all about balance. Self-care, taking time for yourself, seeking therapy if you need it," she said.
"Be open-minded, give yourself grace because they're gonna be road bumps. You're gonna mess up, you're not gonna know everything. Math is hard, science is hard. So, you just have to give yourself grace, and if you mess up, that's OK. Tomorrow's a new day."