“Adelphi made me realize that you don't have to fit in a box and it's good to try new things. If there is something that you believe in, but for some reason the path isn't there or resources are unavailable, you create it.”

Member of Adelphi University’s 10 Under 10

Systems Engineer, Northrop Grumman Corporation

“Adelphi made me realize that you don’t have to fit in a box and it’s good to try new things. If there is something that you believe in, but for some reason the path isn’t there or resources are unavailable, you create it.”

Raised in Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Malika Grayson ’11 was drawn to Adelphi for its size—a university small enough where she could develop personal bonds with the faculty. “Every professor was genuinely interested in the growth and success of their students,” she said.

While at Adelphi, Dr. Grayson, a physics major, said she was fortunate to have more than one mentor. Within her department, she said Professor Sean Bentley encouraged her and her classmates to go beyond what was expected of them as students. “Through conversations with him, I realized for the first time that I did not have to follow the path that was laid out for me,” she said. “It was as simple as recognizing I did not have to stop at a degree in physics; if I wanted to learn more, why not pursue a Ph.D.?” And that’s exactly what she did.

During Dr. Grayson’s last summer at Adelphi, she landed a Summer Undergraduate Research Experience at Georgia Institute of Technology. “That research experience propelled my professional career by further opening my appetite for STEM,” she said.

After graduating from Adelphi, she was accepted into the Ph.D. program at Cornell University, where her research focused on wind energy in the built environment. “My research passion stemmed from growing up in the islands and the fact that the islands could take advantage of the incoming winds on the coast,” she said.

After completing her Ph.D. in 2016, she was offered a job with Northrop Grumman Corporation as a future technical leader in one of the company’s rotational programs. She has completed two rotations so far, in San Jose, California and Herndon, Virginia in which she has engaged in systems engineering, software development, data analysis, research and development management.

Currently she is a systems engineer on a government program, but when she is not working, she is on multiple employee resource groups including Victory Over Impairment and Challenges Enterprise, Northrop Grumman Women’s International Network STEM function, serving as the recruitment and retention chair for the African American Task Group. She also volunteers at the local high school through the corporate citizenship team at Northrop Grumman.

Additionally, Dr. Grayson is the secretary of the Board of Directors for a non-profit organization called Jelani Girls, Inc. as well as the technology chair for the Omicron Nu Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. “My true passion of encouraging minority women to pursue their advanced degrees has allowed me to use social media and other networks to expand these efforts,” she said. “Through conferences and university speaking engagements, mentorship, an official website/blog, and various social media platforms, I have had the opportunity revise and review over four dozen essays and personal statements.”

Dr. Grayson is excited for what the future holds. “For me, this is just the beginning of my professional career as I bring together the two things I am most passionate about: technology and people,” she said.

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