College Students Get a Glimpse of MITRE Life

March 2019
College Students
Software engineer Nicole Ng speaking

Software engineer Nicole Ng discusses the field of healthcare information technology at the second Technical Career Day in Bedford.

"It's a great time to get into computer network defense!"was Stanley Barr's opener at MITRE's second annual Technical Career Day for college students.

Talking to an all-student audience—with interests ranging from software engineering, computer science, mathematics, cybersecurity, data analytics, statistics, electronic systems, and other technologies—he noted the key is not stopping cyber attackers, but instead studying them to learn how they operate.

"Since 2006, there's been a significant increase in cyber incidents," he said. "Deception is now part of computer cyber defense."

Barr joined fellow presenters John Betz and Nicole Ng to discuss the many career optionsresearch specialties, and learning opportunities at MITRE. Students also heard about two MITRE initiatives specifically designed for staff at the beginning of their careers: NextUp, our early career affinity group, and our year-long Early Career Research Program. 

The three-hour program, held on our Bedford, Massachusetts, campus on January 24, included tech talks, lab tours, and networking with MITRE employees and fellow students.

Demonstrating What MITRE Offers

The number of schools represented grew to seven, up from two last year. More than 30 students from Northeastern University, University of Massachusetts (Boston), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Dartmouth College, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute joined attendees from returning schools Harvard and Tufts University.

Matthew Mahowald currently works at MIT as a health physicist and is pursuing a master's degree in engineering management at Tufts. He attended for two reasons: "First, I've wondered about MITRE and how it differed from Draper Labs and Lincoln Labs, and second, I'm also interested in employment,"he said.

"I'm in the nuclear field now and came here to look at what might work for me. I wanted to see what MITRE offers. I'm interested in advanced manufacturing."

A MITRE on-campus recruiter at Tufts invited Sara Amin to attend Career Day. The computer science student was impressed by MITRE’s Synthea™open-source healthcare application and collaboration, and she loved the REACT Lab. She also enjoyed networking with early career MITRE employees.

Bhushan Patel, a Harvard student interested in applied mathematics, said he researched MITRE after his career services office invited him to attend. Patel's favorite part of the tour? The flight simulator and a gaming demonstration in the REACT Lab.

Building Relationships, One Campus at a Time

Not only does this event build awareness of MITRE, it produces important research collaborations. And it's clearly working.

A Tufts student emailed a MITRE staffer after the program and thanked him "for putting on such an engaging and educational event."

"I had fun learning about the company’s various projects and was impressed by MITRE's large-scale impact," she wrote. "Being more mechanically focused, I especially enjoyed the brief segment in the Hardware Fabrication Laboratory, where we learned a bit about the machines for testing prototypes.

"It’s exciting that MITRE not only designs products, but also builds and tests prototypes on-site."

Technical Career Day is the brainchild of MITRE's Academic Engagement Team, which is comprised of diverse staff from across the company and led by Edlyn Levine and Jill Drury. The goal is to expand the annual event and include more schools and networking opportunities each year.

Joe Ferraro served as co-host, along with Jeff D'Amelia, for the students and their advisers and welcomed the "energy and excitement"that the expanded audience brought. "It was great to have the students from so many schools visit MITRE to see our capabilities and what makes us so unique and impactful," Ferraro says. 

D'Amelia concurs. "The breadth of our work program really shines through during this event. Both times we’ve organized the Technical Career Day I’ve heard from students about how they have a new appreciation for MITRE and our work."

—by Blair Gately

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