SASE Honors 5 from MITRE with Professional Achievement Awards


The Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers (SASE) is dedicated to the advancement of Asian heritage scientists and engineers in education and employment so that they can achieve their full career potential. Since its inception in 2007, the organization has reached professional and collegiate communities through regional chapters, national conferences, and robust award programs.  

SASE winners

Representing MITRE at the SASE conference: from left, Surath Wijetunga, honorees Yin Bao, Bob Klannukarn, and Jen Choi, and officers Austin Wang and Keoki Jackson.

This year, five MITRE employees were recognized with SASE Professional Achievement Awards. The awards were established to celebrate technical accomplishments and advancements in the fields of science, engineering, and technology and to recognize top talent within organizations. The 2023 MITRE recipients are:  

Yin Bao, principal software systems engineer, has over 20 years of experience in software development using a wide range of programming languages and OS platforms. Her technical expertise includes 4G and 5G wireless systems, network performance, real-time media, and accessible software design on mobile devices. One of her most notable accomplishments is her work as a task lead on the IRIS task under a Federal Communications Commission Telecommunication Relay Services project. The IRIS project develops disruptive technical solutions to improve the mobile communication experience for people who are Deaf, hard of hearing, or deaf-blind. 

Sheetal Brahmbhatt, lead systems engineer, has over 20 years’ experience in software systems and supporting critical Department of Defense sponsor missions. As a technical lead, she guides the development of systems engineering artifacts and advises verification testing for a selection of air defense programs within the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Foreign Military Sales Division. She oversees the testing and verification procedures of contractor integration activities to ensure the Qatar and Kuwait air operations centers meet the requirements laid out for both the national security of the foreign partner and the interoperability with U.S. and coalition forces in the region. 

Jen Choi, lead multidiscipline engineer, has a diverse background in systems engineering, modeling/simulation engineering, design thinking, and coaching. She possesses a rare combination of technical acumen and leadership skills that combine to produce excellent technical work. She has served in various roles on multiple projects, and one of her major accomplishments is the MITRE Innovation Tool Kit (ITK). The ITK allows others to innovate on their own by learning and using the tools provided. She has presided over an era of enormous growth for ITK. The team conducted hundreds of workshops with sponsors and for MITRE projects—facilitating exercises in problem framing, decision making, and idea mapping to help projects build consensus and make meaningful progress. Choi personally facilitated innovation sessions with dozens of projects across the company, elevating the quality of the work those teams produce. 

Bob Klannukarn, IT and systems engineering group lead, is co-chair of MITRE’s Asian Pacific Islanders Network (APIN) employee group, consistently demonstrating exceptional skills and dedication. He has profoundly impacted the APIN members at MITRE, actively taking time to mentor and develop emerging leaders within the community. The network’s executive leadership team more than doubled in size during his time as co-chair. His commitment to fostering growth and providing opportunities for professional advancement has made a lasting impression on the APIN members and continues to shape the future of APIN leadership. 

Wen Masters, vice president, cyber technologies, is a science and technology leader and strategist. Her career has spanned more than 30 years with government, academia, R&D centers, and not-for-profit organizations, leading impactful science and technology research and development. At MITRE, she has leveraged this experience to assess difficult technical issues and formulate innovative approaches to tackle these challenges. Within her first year, she refreshed MITRE’s cyber efforts to better reflect modern needs, established the Cyber Infrastructure Protection Innovation Center, and strengthened the company’s focus on cyber protection of critical infrastructure. While her technical accomplishments are often highlighted, she is also recognized for a leadership style that focuses on the “whole person.” She is commended for always striving to make herself and those around her better practitioners and better people.