What are you passionate about?
I’ve had a passion to help people since forever and I’ve decided that the best way is to help put bad people away in jail. I went from wanting to be a lawyer to a cop to a therapist and then I realized I could be helpful indirectly by doing digital forensics. It’s a field that is becoming more important and I can’t wait to be a part of it.
Who is your superhero and why?
I would say that my grandma is my superhero. She moved to America from Germany when she was 19 or 20. She was a single mother and lived a life of addiction. My grandma overcame her challenges and used her experiences to help others. She worked at a rehab center for many decades and bought a house for women getting back out into the world after rehab. She motivates me to use my knowledge and experiences to help others and try to make the world a better place, even if that is only affecting the people in our community.
Who would you most like to swap places with for a day?
This is going to sound corny, but I honestly want to swap places with a multi-millionaire or a billionaire. I don’t care which person, but I would swap places and use their money to help homeless. I always think about the people who are at these medians and how if everyone gave $1, they would have enough money to get back on their feet. If I had that much money, I would be able to help hundreds of homeless and it wouldn’t have an impact on my daily life. I think that is a better way to spend money rather than having 7 houses and 10 cars.
How did you hear about ManTech?
My mom worked for ManTech, so I knew about it before, but I was more familiarized when they came to Academies of Loudoun in my junior year of high school.
What do you like most about ManTech?
I really like the opportunity they are giving students. Most contractors have internships for college students, and even then, it’s usually juniors or seniors who are given the opportunity. I believe this idea of starting to recruit students while they’re in high school will start to become more popular and ManTech will be marked as the key player in that movement. It is truly amazing what they are doing and although most interns won’t understand the importance of this, they will look back at this time and be grateful.
What about ManTech most appealed to you?
I have the goal of going to the FBI or another agency that deals with federal law enforcement and in order to get to that goal, I have to have a clearance. The fact that ManTech allowed me to start the opportunity at the age of 18 was huge and it would be foolish of me to not seize that opportunity.
How have you balanced your internship, school, and home life?
I came into college with 44 credits, so I am already going to graduate early, therefore I don’t have a need to take summer classes. As for my home life, the internship was basically completely online, so I could decide my work schedule a little more. I was able to take a vacation and still work or take breaks when I wanted. It was easy to balance everything this summer because of Covid-19 but if it is in person next summer, it will be more challenging to balance home life.
What’s the coolest thing about what you’re working on now?
I am currently not working on anything with ManTech but the coolest thing I worked on was a project that was actually created the first year. The project was about analyzing “Davey Smack’s” hard drive and it is exactly what I want to do in my future. You had to find as much information about him and it was overall my most famous thing.
Why did you choose your school and/or major?
I originally chose Mason because they are one of the only schools with a Cybersecurity undergrad major. I ended up not pursing that degree because my credits transferred to IT and that degree also requires heavy physics and calculus. I stuck with IT because I can have more credits transfer as well as minor.
How will this internship/job help to advance your career?
This will help teach me how to do digital forensics. It is not something you really learn in school if you do it is only one class. It will also give me crucial connections to this field. My dad has told me my whole life that the most successful people have connections and that this field is a small world. The impactful things you do (good or bad) will be shared and people talk. This internship will help me build knowledge and connections.
What do you hope to accomplish within the next 10 years?
I hope that in 10 years I will have gotten my master’s degree, found a job that I love and an environment that suits me well, and I am doing what I want. If I learn that my dream job is not actually what I want, I hope I will have found a new dream. I also hope that I am financially independent and that I am happy with my life.
What advice do you have for someone thinking of interning/working at ManTech?
You don’t have to know what you want out of life right now, however if you believe your future involves needing a clearance, take this opportunity at ManTech. This is going to build you the connections and resources you will need as your career moves forward. That being said, I truly believe that if you have no desire to ever work in a position that requires a clearance, don’t pursue this internship. I think of it like applying to Cybersecurity or CISCO at ACL. If you’re not interested in that field, you are taking away a spot for someone who genuinely wants that opportunity to learn and experience that.
One word to describe your time at ManTech so far.
Macayla is a sophomore at George Mason University.