Inspiring the Next Generation of STEM LeadersOctober 2021
Ryan Jobson is a communications systems engineer focused on projects involving very low frequency communications. Among other roles, he helps develop lab capabilities for Global Navigation Satellite System testing. He’s also part of the MITRE STEM Council, an employee resource responsible for bringing science, technology, engineering, and math learning opportunities to underserved communities. Jobson talks about MITRE’s efforts to recruit and train the next generation of STEM leaders.
When it comes to finding qualified STEM applicants, demand is high, but the number of qualified candidates is low. This is due to a growing gap in STEM learning opportunities. MITRE plays an important role in bridging that gap.
We’re nurturing the next wave of STEM leaders by providing resources to support our goal of solving problems for a safer world. I get to make a lasting impact in both areas: doing exciting work and then sharing what I do to help spark interest from future generations. This joint responsibility is what attracted me to MITRE.
Fulfilling a Desire to Teach Others
I knew I wanted to pursue engineering when I received my first laptop. At just 8 years old, I wanted to learn everything about it. I taught myself how to code and knew, without hesitation, that I wanted to teach others.
I spent my summer breaks as a coding camp instructor and worked at a local school to facilitate a LEGO© Mindstorm STEM after-school camp. Though this work was a step in the right direction, I knew I wanted to do more.
Fortunately for me, my involvement in the National Society of Black Engineers [NSBE] chapter at Swarthmore College led me to the NSBE conference in 2019. That’s where I first learned of, and interviewed with, MITRE. Once hired on, I learned very quickly that MITRE was the perfect place for me.
Working here feels like working in academia. There’s an emphasis on higher learning. The work that we do encourages us to think differently—think better. That makes us better equipped to work on harder problems.
For me, the lack of opportunities for those interested in STEM is one of those hard problems. That’s where MITRE and my colleagues come into play.
Widening the STEM Pipeline to All Perspectives
At MITRE, we take our mission of solving problems for a safer world to heart—and to our communities. We’re working hard to open the STEM pipeline to all perspectives.
I’m a testament to this, as I’ve seen it firsthand. As part of our STEM outreach, I’ve been able to provide students with interactive, free after-school programs in computers and technology. These programs give them access to opportunities, resources, and personalized instruction they may otherwise not have. As a result, students get curious about what’s behind the devices and systems that power their lives—much as I did many years ago.
That’s the MITRE way. We encourage our employees to take ideas and turn them into real-world impact. For me, there are no better representatives of this belief than my group lead, Tamara Sobers, and our MITRE STEM lead, Bryn Dews. Both have shaped my career in more ways than one—embodying MITRE’s emphasis on pioneering together for the public good.
With their inspiration, I’m using my skillset to support the MITRE mission. Inspiring the next generation of STEM leaders is a welcome bonus.
—as told to Rachel Loussaert
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