Ingrid Jensen Vaughan
B.S., Industrial Engineering and Operations Research, 1985
Induction year: 2023
Ingrid Jensen Vaughan’s father encouraged her to pursue a career with strong job prospects in a field where women were underrepresented. Industrial engineering and operations research was the perfect fit, as it also aligned with her problem-solving skills.
“I often reflect that Virginia Tech was the launching point for my career. The professional recruitment center connected me to Westinghouse, now Northrop Grumman,” Vaughan said. “Due to Virginia Tech’s strong reputation, I was given a chance to start a career at a fantastic company. Thirty-seven years later, to be inducted into the Virginia Tech Academy of Engineering Excellence is an unexpected, but incredible honor.”
Vaughan has held several roles with Northrop Grumman, including work with the Combat and Defensive Product Cells Business Unit, Cobra Judy Replacement Program, AMDR Technology Demonstration Program, G/ATOR Program, and ground-based tactical radars. Now the vice president and general manager for the maritime/land sensors and systems division, Vaughan has received the Northrop Grumman President’s Leadership Award three times.
She also supports Northrop Grumman’s University Relations Program. Through this role, she helped lead the first anchor-level partnership at the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus. This partnership will establish a new Center for Quantum Architecture and Software Development that will support new frontiers of quantum research.
Vaughan was inducted into the Grado Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering Academy of Distinguished Alumni in 2019. She also serves on the Virginia Tech College of Engineering Advisory Board.
Ellicott City, Maryland
Degrees from other institutions:
- M.S., Administrative Science, Johns Hopkins University
- General Manager Program, Harvard University
- Vice President of Manufacturing, Northrop Grumman Mission Systems
- Business Area Director, Ground Based Tactical Radars, Northrop Grumman Mission Systems
- Program Director, G/ATOR Program, Northrop Grumman Mission Systems
- Deputy Program Director, AMDR Technology Demonstration Program, Northrop Grumman Mission Systems
- Deputy Program Director, Cobra Judy Replacement Program, Northrop Grumman Mission Systems
- Director of Manufacturing, Combat and Defensive Product Cells Business Unit, Northrop Grumman Mission Systems
- The Grado Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering Academy of Distinguished Alumni, 2019
- Westinghouse Signature Award of Excellence, 1992, 1995
- Northrop Grumman President’s Leadership Award, 1999, 2010, 2011
Boards and committees:
- Virginia Tech College of Engineering Advisory Board, 2019-present
- University of Maryland Baltimore Campus President's Board of Visitors, 2018-present
- Executive Sponsor African-American Task Group, Northrop Grumman Employee Resource Group
- Northrop Grumman Women’s International Network Mentor, Northrop Grumman Employee Resource Group
- Northrop Grumman University Relations, Executive Sponsor for Virginia Tech
- Northrop Grumman Vice President Mentoring Program
- WORTHY, Stem Mentoring Program for Baltimore City High Schools
- Virginia Tech Women in Science and Engineering Webinar Series Participant
How did you decide what to major in at Virginia Tech?
My father encouraged me to pursue a career with strong job prospects, in a field where women were underrepresented. Computer science appeared to be a good fit; however, I failed miserably in getting error-free runs with my deck of punch cards. I switched to industrial engineering and operations research because it was more aligned with my problem-solving approach.
What are your favorite memories from Virginia Tech?
My absolute favorite memories were the nail-biter basketball games in Cassell Coliseum. Those games were a few examples of the many experiences that reinforced the sense of community and belonging I felt at Virginia Tech. There was no shortage of fun times, whether those were shared with my sorority sisters or with my industrial engineering classmates. I loved that the variety of groups blended seamlessly at Virginia Tech!
What was the moment in your career that you felt like you made it?
There is always more to learn, and I have always had a continuous improvement mindset. However, when individuals seek your advice and are genuinely excited to meet you and hear your story, it is a rewarding moment. Being told that you are a role model is incredibly impactful.
What do you find most rewarding about your career?
The most rewarding aspect of my career is inspiring, influencing, and guiding a diverse team toward a common vision or shared objective that has a lasting and meaningful impact. This includes defining what success looks like and celebrating with the team when we get there!
Please note: Inductee spotlight is as of the year of their induction.