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HSF Leaders

Daniela Sofia Gil

  • Gender: Female
  • University: Florida International University
  • Undergraduate Degree: Mechanical and Materials Engineering
  • Organization: Lockheed Martin
  • Position Title: Systems Engineer, Engineering Leadership Development Program
  • HSF Leadership Role: Member, HSF Advisory Council, Orlando

Daniela says that the combination of her family’s support and her own motivation, have been keys to her success, to date. She adds that getting clear on exactly what she wants, and identifying the steps needed to get there, have also been essential.

Despite these pluses, when it came to higher education, her path wasn’t always easy. Although her parents had both attended college in Peru, their academic experiences were dissimilar enough from the US system, that Daniela mostly had to rely on her own initiative and research to figure things out.

Her efforts paid off, leading to an HSF Scholarship and a BS in Mechanical and Materials Engineering with a minor in Mathematics, from Florida International University. While there, she served as president of the Engineering Honor Society, and was a member of Tau Beta Pi and the Society of Women Engineers. She was also a Department of Education McNair Scholar, National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering Scholar, and was named “Best Overall Student” within FIU’s Engineering department in her senior year.

Today, she is a Systems Engineer in the Engineering Leadership Development Program of global security and aerospace firm, Lockheed Martin. She began there as an intern, helping to test and integrate the simulator for the UK Military Flight Training Systems program, which provides training for the British Armed Forces aircrew. Prior to her appointment as a systems engineer, Daniela was a manufacturing engineer—a role that took her overseas, to both Australia and the United Kingdom.

In keeping with HSF’s model of giving back, Daniela contributes to her alma mater by advising on the curriculum and supporting the institution’s continuous growth. She also participates in Lockheed Martin events, promoting community engagement and STEM education.

In addition, she joined HSF’s Advisory Council in Orlando, with the goal of sharing her experiences and knowledge, in support of the organization’s mission. “HSF is critical in developing the leaders of tomorrow,” she commented, “and the opportunities and learning experiences it provides to the community are countless.”

Drawing on her own experiences, Daniela encourages students to plan ahead, in advance of graduating and preparing for that first job out of school. “Always look out for professional development options and internships before the big job hunt! Interning will not only give you experience, but insight into the things you like or don’t like and can help you make an educated decision regarding a full-time position,” she said.