U.Va. Engineering 'Rising Star' Honored by Women in Technology

June 27, 2007 -- University of Virginia systems engineering graduate Jennifer Murrill has been recognized as a “Rising Star” by Women in Technology (WIT), the premier organization dedicated to contributing to the success of professional women in the Washington, D.C., technology community, for her work in information technology at Northrop Grumman Corporation and for her role in the technology community.

Honored at the Eighth Annual WIT Leadership Awards, Murrill was recognized as a Rising Star for demonstrated leadership at an early point in her career. The WIT Leadership Awards recognize women who embody WIT’s spirit to “connect, lead and succeed” and who have excelled in their roles as mentors, leaders and role models. An operations researcher and cost analyst for Northrop Grumman Information Technology (IT) sector’s Intelligence group since 2003, she is involved in cost research, data collection, data normalization, and independent cost estimates and methods development for space systems in the intelligence community.

A two-time graduate of the U.Va. School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) — having earned a bachelor of science and a master of engineering in systems engineering in 2003 and 2007, respectively — Murrill attributes her success to the education she received at SEAS. “The Engineering School gave me a lot of ‘tools’ to put in my toolbox,” she says. “My systems engineering professors taught me how to look at the big picture, which is critical in working with large-scale programs, and how to use the critical thinking process and problem-solving approaches to ‘think’ like an engineer.”

Murrill also notes that the U.Va. Center for Engineering Career Development played an instrumental role in her career. “I took advantage of a lot of the fantastic services that the Center for Engineering Career Development offers — proofing resumes, job interview workshops, career fairs, etc. In fact, I got my job at Northrop Grumman through being a student host at the Engineering Career Fair,” she says. “Throughout my fourth year, Frances Hersey, associate director of the center, was a mentor to me and kept her eye out for job opportunities that were a good fit for me.”

Beyond her achievements in the workplace, Murrill was also recognized for her role in the community. In addition to serving as a mentor to elementary and middle school children, she is a co-chair of the U.Va. Jefferson Scholars Northern Virginia Regional Selection Committee and, since 2004, has served as a guest speaker for a third-year U.Va. systems engineering course. As a student, she was an active member of the University Guide Service, the Young Women Leaders Program and Madison House and was recognized as a winner of the Louis T. Rader Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Service in Systems Engineering, a Jefferson Scholar and a Lawn Resident.

“Jenny is highly regarded as a role model within Northrop Grumman and the community,” says Michele Toth, vice-president of human resources and administration and competitive excellence for Northrop Grumman IT. “She has committed herself to the engineering profession while staying actively involved in her local and academic communities. Her talents and perseverance merit this distinguished award.”

“The caliber of the nominations that WIT received this year for its Leadership Awards was outstanding,” said Marguerete Luter, president of WIT. “We are thrilled to recognize Jenny Murill for her stellar contributions to the technology community at large and to Northrop Grumman specifically.”

About the University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied Science
Founded in 1836, the University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied Science combines research and educational opportunities at the undergraduate and graduate levels.  Within the undergraduate programs, courses in engineering, ethics, mathematics, the sciences and the humanities are available to build a strong foundation for careers in engineering and other professions. Its abundant research opportunities complement the curriculum and educate young men and women to become thoughtful leaders in technology and society. At the graduate level, the Engineering School collaborates with the University’s highly ranked medical and business schools on interdisciplinary research projects and entrepreneurial initiatives. With a distinguished faculty and a student body of 2,000 undergraduates and 650 graduate students, the Engineering School offers an array of engineering disciplines, including cutting-edge research programs in computer and information science and engineering, bioengineering and nanotechnology. For more information, visit www.seas.virginia.edu.

About Women in Technology
Women in Technology (WIT) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to offering women involved in all levels of the technology industry a wide range of professional development and networking opportunities.  One of the organization’s main goals is to create a forum where women in technology can be recognized and promoted as role models.  The organization’s values are embodied in its tag line:  Connect. Lead. Succeed.  WIT was founded in 1994 and has nearly 1,000 members.  For more information, please visit WIT’s Web site, www.womenintechnology.org.