Advocating Women in Engineering Award

Malika Grayson, Ph.D.

Northrop Grumman Corporation

For being a proactive leader in the STEM community; for being intentional in advancing and empowering women in engineering; and for developing resources to help them succeed as engineers.

Northrop Grumman Program Manager Malika Grayson, Ph.D., leads technology investment and long-term strategic initiatives to help business sectors and stakeholders achieve above-plan growth through their projects. Over the past few years, Dr. Grayson has had industry experiences in systems engineering, software development, research and development portfolio management, and IT management and strategy.

Dr. Grayson, of Alexandria, Virginia, was raised in Trinidad and Tobago and came to the states to attend college. She holds a B.S. in physics from Adelphi University and both an M.S. and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Cornell University. She has aligned her education and her industry experience with her desire to ensure that women have a strong presence and representation in STEM fields. She pursues this goal through her advocacy, volunteer service, mentorship, and entrepreneurship.

Her advocacy for women in STEM began at Cornell. She participated in Cornell’s Graduate Society of Women Engineers, serving as co-chair. Her multiyear involvement in Cornell GradSWE opened opportunities for Dr. Grayson to mentor younger women and support them in their efforts to pursue advanced engineering degrees.

She channeled that energy when she began working for Northrop Grumman and worked with others to champion the introduction of the Enterprise Services Technical Women’s Group, a community of mentorship, professional development, and career guidance for women in technical fields. In just a short time, the group reached more than 500 women in STEM areas across the organization. Dr. Grayson coordinated monthly sessions covering topics such as sponsorship, compensation, and career advancement. She also serves as an early-career professional lead responsible for mentoring early-career employees who participate in one of Northrop Grumman’s technical rotation programs.

Dr. Grayson’s desire to expand her influence outside of Northrop Grumman took shape when she launched two companies: STEMinist Empowered LLC (2020) and Aspire STEM (2021). She collaborates with other organizations that support women in STEM.

Through STEMinist Empowered, Dr. Grayson seeks to empower, assist, and encourage women of color who wish to pursue graduate degrees through application consultancy and graduate program mentorship. In its first year, STEMinist offered counseling and mentoring to 11 women. Aspire STEM provides financial assistance to Trinbagonian high school students who want to study a STEM field at the university level.

A global speaker and bestselling author, Dr. Grayson has given dozens of workshops and keynotes based on her experiences in academia and industry. Topics have included networking for mentoring, canceling impostor syndrome, navigating the impossible, and success through resilience—all key to success in STEM. She is also the author of Hooded: A Black Girl’s Guide to the Ph.D., a book dedicated to helping Black women survive and thrive in graduate school.

Dr. Grayson has received many honors, including being named a Trinidad and Tobago 40 Under 40 Youth Influencer by her home country’s Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs. Her hobbies include traveling, cooking, writing, and binge-watching. She also serves on the board of Discover Engineering.