Adam Rilatt ’24 spent the summer at Lockheed Martin working as a software engineering intern on a team that develops applications to visualize space objects (satellites, debris, etc.), predict collisions between space objects, and recommend new courses of action for protected space assets.
“As a full-stack software engineer, I’d spend one day working on some user interface feature, and the next day I’d bury myself in the server-side code, and the next day I’d manage a database migration,” said Rilatt. “At the same time, I’d attend daily presentations on quantum mechanics, orbital dynamics, differential geometry, and best testing practices, building my knowledge base and opening connections with extremely intelligent subject matter experts. My teammates were fantastic—besides demonstrating how a healthy Agile development team manages time and workload, they gave me exposure to all parts of the application development cycle and trained me on the tech stack they use.”
Through the course of his internship, Rilatt demonstrated his talents in such a way that the company offered him a full-time position after his graduation in May.
Rilatt follows the footsteps of previous LVC Computer and Data Science alumni who have interned with Lockheed Martin and then accepted a job offer. He connected with one of those alumni through his faculty advisor, Dr. Ken Yarnall, chair of mathematical sciences.
“Our conversations sparked my enthusiasm for space and satellite communication, so I set off exploring the skills I thought I’d need. I studied for and received my amateur radio licenses, then used radio equipment obtained through funding from my Allwein Scholarship to experiment with signals processing and satellite communication.
“Between my Concurrent & Parallel Programming class and toying with a small computing cluster I built, I gained experience with programming in a distributed environment. That coursework, in addition to my on-campus research experiences in quantum chromodynamics and quantum information science, got me onto the team at Lockheed. Once I was in the office, my Software Architecture, Linear Algebra, and Data Structures & Algorithms coursework paid off. I even had a chance to stretch the skills from my web development electives,” he added.
Rilatt credits his professors’ intentional focus and ability to communicate technical concepts to a general audience made material easier to learn and amplified his ability to do useful work. That is one of the skills he has come to value most.
While Rilatt admits his classes led to long days and late nights of homework, the academic reputation is part of what drew him to LVC, along with the ability to pursue co-curricular interests.
“LVC caught my eye with its high rank in job placements and the exceptional quality of its mathematics program, because I knew I’d need a strong math background to pursue the computer science topics I’m interested in. I was also interested in the musical ensembles—I wanted to continue singing in a choir and playing in a band, and LVC has a strong music program with ensembles available to non-music majors.”