Since she was in 8th grade, Nayely Gonzales BS ’25 was intrigued with engineering and technology. She loved anything that was hands-on and remembers helping her father, who worked in construction, with some of his home improvement side jobs. He taught her how to change a doorknob before she was seven years old.
Nayely is now a fourth-year student studying mechanical engineering technology, and she’s had a lot of occasions for experiential learning in her field. RIT corporate partner TransDigm Group Inc.’s support has significantly impacted Nayely’s education and career goals. She was part of the first cohort of the Doug Peacock Scholarship (funded by TransDigm and named for their founding CEO and Chairman of the Board) as a sophomore and completed a successful manufacturing engineering internship at Young & Franklin/Tactair, a subsidiary of TransDigm. TransDigm is a global producer, designer, and supplier of highly engineered aerospace components, systems, and subsystems that are used on nearly all commercial and military aircraft in service today.
“I was so excited when I found out I was selected for the scholarship,” Nayely says. “I remember reading the email and sending a screenshot to my family. They were very proud of me. I felt beyond grateful and blessed. The gift of education is so powerful, and I hope someday I can do the same and give back to others.”
The Doug Peacock Scholarship was established in 2020 and is earmarked for women and students from underrepresented groups studying 5-year programs within the Kate Gleason College of Engineering, the College of Engineering Technology,and the Saunders College of Business. Nayely says she felt uplifted and inspired as a recipient and hopes she will positively influence other young women.
“There aren’t a whole lot of Hispanic students—let alone Hispanic women—in the STEM fields. I hope others can see me and think, ‘If she can do it, I can do it, too.”
Dr. Keith Jenkins, Vice President and Associate Provost for Diversity and Inclusion at RIT, is proud to help nurture the relationship between the university and TransDigm and speaks to all of the good the scholarship support is providing to students like Nayely.
“TransDigm is a valued partner as RIT endeavors to diversify our undergraduate student population and improve graduation rates. This most welcomed gift addresses some recipients’ financial barriers while serving as a unique contributor to their collegiate experience and success.”
TransDigm recently increased its financial support of the Doug Peacock Scholarship. President and CEO Kevin Stein was previously highly engaged with RIT in both research and the Office of Career Services and Co-op and served on RIT’s President’s Roundtable from 2012-2015.
“With an increasingly global economy, the importance of a diverse workforce cannot be understated. The development of a diverse workforce leads to better innovation, decisions, and outcomes for everyone,” said Kevin. “RIT and TransDigm are aligned in our commitment to developing and promoting a talented and diverse workforce for the future. TransDigm is honored to contribute through the Doug Peacock Scholarship Program, and we are very pleased to have scholarship recipients like Nayely accepting an internship at one of our subsidiaries. We hope for that to continue moving forward.”
Dedicated to helping students also participate in on-the-job learning, TransDigm works closely with RIT to offer co-op programs. Nayely hopes to work in the aerospace industry someday and felt her internship experience at Young & Franklin during the spring and summer of 2023 was eye-opening. She worked in the design and operations departments and even created and presented a proposal for improved inspection processes to her colleagues. From start to finish, Nayely took responsibility for the project management, including completing the research, project estimation, and communications. She also enjoyed making connections and networking with people throughout the company.
She shares: “It was a really special time, and it was thrilling to be a part of something bigger than me. I liked seeing the business and projects from several different perspectives.”
Nayely also spends her time as a senior peer mentor in the College of Engineering Technology, is the academic director for the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, a graphic designer for the ALANA (African, Latin, Asian, and Native American) Collegiate Association, a member of RIT WOCHA (Women of Honor and Ambition), and a front desk attendant at the RIT Campus Center. She has four goals for her future after RIT—pursue her passion for space exploration as a lead engineer, continue outreach to the ALANA community, mentor others, and make her parents proud.
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