CS|Source Stakeholder Spotlight: American Systems
What attracted you to partner with the Department of Computer Science at Virginia Tech?
AMERICAN SYSTEMS delivers IT and Engineering solutions to complex national priority programs that need to be supported by the best and the brightest for these important missions. With our Corporate Headquarters in the DC/Metro area we know Virginia Tech well (many of our staff are alum) and were attracted by its leading/edge CS program and associated ability to produce high-caliber graduates.
What excited you the most about connecting with computer science students last spring?
We were most excited about being able to identify and hire a number of bright and engaging students to join our AMERICAN SYSTEMS team! We were also particularly excited by the interactions we had with students; their level of enthusiasm, the real-world internship experience they had already completed, and where they wanted to go with their careers. It was clear that the students we spoke with are ready to hit the ground running and will bring fantastic skills sets and enthusiasm to the highly technical programs we support.
How does AMERICAN SYSTEMS hope to further interact with students in the future?
We would like to continue participating in job fairs and other student engagement activities with the objective of bringing on board new graduates as well as interns. Longer term, we would like to seek joint-business opportunities where we partner with the University, undergraduate and graduate students, and senior staff for competitive proposals and R&D initiatives.
What is the best piece of advice you can give to students who are interested in working with your company?
Continue to develop your capabilities with technical focus and beyond – Complement technical skills with valuable soft-skills (like communications); augment academic mastery of subjects/technology with projects that showcase their practical application; participate in extracurricular activities that further build upon book-smarts and showcase your talents; document your experience and capabilities in your resume; become comfortable with the interview process and hone your “elevator pitch” so you can effectively communicate the breadth of what you have to offer.
Can you share how AMERICAN SYSTEMS supports a culture of inclusion and diversity?
AMERICAN SYSTESM proactively promotes our company culture by establishing and reinforcing what we call our Cultural Beliefs. One of these is Better Together which focuses on the importance of fostering collaboration across all employees. We specifically focus on diversity and inclusion in organizational policies such as “Fair Employment Practices” with CEO messaging that states: “Not only do we value the contributions of a diverse workforce, but we also believe that diversity makes us a stronger and more agile organization.” We reinforce our cultural beliefs through ongoing training (new-hire, annual refresher, etc.) and include in our annual appraisals discussion of how staff demonstrate our cultural beliefs (like Better Together) through their behaviors. Ultimately this plays out in the composition of our workforce, the way in which all our staff work together (with respect for all) and is also reflected in our increasingly diverse workforce from the board of directors through staff on individual project teams.
Can you provide examples of the kind of job roles and areas of specialty you are seeking in computer science graduates? Which skillsets are you seeking as you work to fulfill your company's mission?
We are particularly interested in students with skills in: High Performance Computing, Modeling and Simulation, Data Analytics, Application Development (Dev/Sec/Ops), and advanced cyber security capabilities.
Is there an internship program available to interested students?
AMERICAN SYSTEMS operates an internship program that has traditionally been “Federated” in nature and in response to specific program/project needs. We are in the process of working to develop a more Enterprise-driven internship program that responds to specific program needs and takes a strategic view by providing real-world opportunities for students to build skills, enables us to build relationships with students in advance of graduation, potentially provides security clearances, and ultimately forges the way for hiring students into jobs upon graduation.
For students that are interested in AMERICAN SYSTEMS, what should they do next?
You can learn more about our company at americansystems.com or please reach out to us directly at VT@americansystems.com.
About American Systems
Founded in 1975, AMERICAN SYSTEMS is one of the largest employee-owned companies in the United States. Based in the Washington, D.C., suburb of Chantilly, Virginia, AMERICAN SYSTEMS is a government services contractor focused on delivering Strategic Solutions to complex national priority programs.