Aug 16, 2023 | Paola Pinto math Susannah (Susi) Manning's educational journey began in the Department of Mathematical Sciences in the College of Science at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), a part of the University of Alabama System, which has led her to a pivotal role in national defense strategy. Graduating with a major and a computer science minor, Manning currently works at Northrop Grumman, contributing her expertise to the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense program—a crucial initiative in safeguarding the nation against incoming nuclear threats. Originally from Mobile, Alabama, Manning chose her educational path inspired by her brother's precedent as an UAH Engineering graduate. She completed both undergraduate and, with the support of the JUMP program, a Master's degree at UAH. She also took advantage of the proximity to numerous local job opportunities, starting at Northrop Grumman early in her career. Dr. Terri Johnson stands out among the professors who have etched an indelible mark on Manning's academic expedition. Dr. Johnson's Honors Calculus A class reignited Manning's enthusiasm for mathematics. "If I could be Dr. Johnson when I grow up, that would be great," she says. Another of her favorite classes was her first computer science course; "I was really surprised because I actually came in not wanting to touch a computer or code," Manning reveals. She realized how this could shape her career in math, so with her advisors' assistance, she opted for a computer science minor. Her initial reluctance now plays a pivotal role in her job at Northrop Grumman. Manning's current role involves contributing to the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense program, a national defense initiative against nuclear missiles. Her work centers on algorithm development, determining optimal strategies to detect and respond to threats. She attributes her early inspiration to her father, an engineer, and her career growth to mentors who encouraged her to explore beyond her comfort zone. Reflecting on her academic journey, Manning emphasizes the importance of keeping an open mind. She encourages students not to be disheartened by uncertainty, as embracing varied options can lead to unexpected fulfillment. Manning's internship experiences, including her two-year tenure with Northrop Grumman, emphasize the significance of internships in paving the path to a meaningful career. Manning's involvement in UAH's community further enriched her growth. Her roles with the Student Success Center as Peer-Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) leader and a Resident Assistant helped her develop managerial and interpersonal skills. Her educational ambitions are expanding, with a strong desire to pursue a Ph.D. Manning's journey exemplifies the transformative power of higher education, dedication, and adaptability. Her story not only underscores the potential within each student to discover their passion and make meaningful contributions to mathematics and beyond but also highlights the College of Science's unwavering commitment to nurturing and empowering its students on their paths to success.