Spark Award

Ellen McIsaac

Lockheed Martin

For lasting impact on diversity and inclusion in the workplace and the engineering pipeline; for modeling patient and consistent communication; and for inspiring her mentees to become mentors themselves.

Ellen McIsaac is a materials and processes manager at Lockheed Martin in Palmdale, California. In this role, she leads a multisite team of engineers and technicians responsible for the development, production, and sustainment of a wide range of materials products.

Previously, she held a variety of roles of increasing responsibility as a materials development program manager, stress analysis team lead, Skunk Works technical intern program manager, and engineering leadership development program site lead. Prior to joining Lockheed Martin in 2015, McIsaac was a composite structures engineer at Pratt & Whitney in Middletown, Connecticut.

Driven to advance historically underrepresented groups in the STEM fields, McIsaac devotes much of her time outside of work to volunteering, mentoring, and coaching. She has coached numerous teams for FIRST® Robotics, where she has inspired underrepresented students, helping them find their voices and build confidence in themselves. Many of her robotics mentees have chosen to study engineering, become engineers, and paid it forward as mentors.

McIsaac volunteers hundreds of hours per year in support of STEM education programs. Since 2019, she has served on the board of The Palmdale Aerospace Academy, a K-12 STEM charter school based in Palmdale. She also volunteers regularly for local STEM-related activities, including the annual Antelope Valley Science Olympiad competition and a STEM exhibition tent at the annual Los Angeles County Air Show.

At work, McIsaac has provided one-on-one mentoring and coaching to countless individuals at all career stages. She led Lockheed Martin’s intern program to its highest level of retention in years. Her talent is visible in that so many of her mentees have themselves become mentors. McIsaac consistently helps her mentees determine what is important to them, define their career goals, and implement their career plans. Her influence has positively impacted the early-career experience and the culture at Lockheed Martin in Palmdale.

A SWE life member and active at the local and Society levels, McIsaac was named a 2020 SWE Distinguished New Engineer. Her past roles include collegiate director, senator, Antelope Valley Section president, counselor/faculty advisor coordinator, member of the Society-level awards and membership committees, scholarship judge, and awards judge.

McIsaac earned a B.S. in materials science and engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an M.S. in mechanical engineering at the University of Connecticut, and an M.S. in management science and engineering at Stanford University.

In her free time, she enjoys trying new kinds of tea, biking, and spending time with her husband, Andres, and their three dogs. She is currently working on a challenge to bike the distance of the Pacific Crest Trail in 2022.