STEM Career Profile – Calynna Sorrells


Calynna Sorrells
Systems Integration Engineer

“Believe in yourself. Know that you are capable and smart, believe you can do it”

By Thelema Davis, iUrban Teen Youth Editor


iUT What is your current role at Intel and what does it entail?

Calynna – I am a Systems Integration Engineer for the Cloud Security Solutions Group. Officially, I work in the Data Center Group and we deliver security applications for servers; we deliver trusted platforms to our customers. I make sure that the products have a certain level of security compliance before they get to the customers; I am responsible for taking our products through something called a security development life cycle. Also, I do security testing: penetration testing, and general security testing. Lastly I am a validator; I validate our products and I do Quality Assurance testing. Our end user expects a certain standard/level of quality.

iUTWhat’s your background and how did it lead to what you’re currently doing?

Calynna – My background is Electrical Engineering. I have my Bachelor’s degree in Science, my Master’s, and my PhD – all in Electrical Engineering. My freshman year at college I went to a program at Tuskegee called (FASTREC); Freshman Accelerated Start-up for and Training for Retention of Engineering Curricula. Through that program I learned about what engineers do. We went on many site trips and interesting speakers came to talk to us.

iUT – Did you have any experiences in STEM or mentors as a youth

Calynna – In high school I really liked math and science, and I liked physics. When I was growing up both my mom and my dad encouraged me to look into Engineering and neither of them were  in engineering fields – healthcare. I looked in to Electrical Engineering and liked it.

iUTWhat advice would you give our teens about being an engineer and getting into your industry?

Calynna – There are a lot of programs out there to take advantage of and so much information that is readily available. My biggest piece of advice would be just to utilize the resources because there is so much out there. If you want to be and engineer don’t hesitate to take a math class at community college or take a free class on line. There’s nothing stopping you from taking math classes early. When you get to college it will make every thing that much easier. You can learn programming at any age; learn it. Develop yourself, don’t wait for someone to develop you. Believe in yourself. Know that you are capable and smart, believe you can do it.

iUT: What is the most fun thing about your job?

Calynna –  I am the only minority and the only woman on my team, so the most fun thing for me is learning that we are all the same. We can all laugh at the same thing and have fun with each other. Even though we are all different, on the most important level, we are all the same. We do fun things together; we go to coffee and we laugh and we tell jokes. It might not seem like much, but we have fun.

iUT: Tell us something about yourself that we can’t find on a Google search?

Calynna – I played basketball in college at Tuskegee and I have a red belt in Karate.

iUT – Is there any thing else you want to add?

Calynna –  To parents:  Work with your students and put them in programs to prepare them for college.Place them in advanced classes and honor classes. Get them on the right track because high school really determines how you start off in college.

To students: Get good grades so you can receive scholarships. Expect to get to college for free. Look for scholarships even when you are in college because you don’t want to pay for college. Make sure that you don’t take out more loans than you are going make in the first year (i.e. Don’t think: “I am going make 60,000 this year working, so it’s okay for me to take out a $100,000 loan”). Once you graduate you have to pay for life (a place to live, food to eat, clothes to wear), so save now. Look for colleges early, plan now. Also take classes early because you want to be ahead when you get to college.