Like many former members of the military, Michael Bundas came to MITRE for the opportunity to continue to serve the public good. His transition to civilian life just happened much sooner than expected.
Bundas, who graduated from the Naval Academy with a degree in physics, was diagnosed with a serious illness during his senior year. A medical discharge soon followed. It was time for a new plan.
Fortunately, he found one when he attended a Service Academy Career Conference and met MITRE's Roger Thrasher. Impressed with MITRE's mission to help our government sponsors solve problems for a safer world, Bundas joined MITRE in 2017.
Optimizing the Radio Frequency Spectrum
Since he arrived, Bundas has contributed to several projects that explore the issues surrounding radio frequency spectrum coexistence among government and commercial users.
With only a finite amount of spectrum available, it's paramount to balance the needs of users in the commercial world against the need to maintain an effective defensive posture.
Early on, Bundas researched the availability of commercial spectrum space on 4G networks for the Defense Spectrum Organization. Part of that research examined interference mitigation and anti-jamming technologies that could be employed if the government used commercial platforms.
He later joined a MITRE team providing strategic guidance to the Department of Defense Chief Information Officer on incorporating 5G technologies into the military.
He's also worked with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency conducting a technology assessment to help achieve its mission—to counter weapons of mass destruction.
A Diversity of Work, Plus Educational Support
Bundas has found the variety of project work available to MITRE staff to be ideal.
"I've had some great opportunities to work on things that really interested me. Being able to say I want to try something new—and getting the chance to do it—is very gratifying."
He credits his management with helping him to build his skills and continually find new challenges.
The ability to broaden his skills hasn't been limited to project work. Within a year of his arrival at MITRE, Bundas started a master's degree program in applied physics at Johns Hopkins University. He's using MITRE's generous tuition reimbursement benefit and hopes to also participate in our Early Career Research Program in the coming years.
Learn to Follow, Learn to Lead
Bundas knows that his education was top-notch in more ways than one.
"The military academies teach you many skills you can use in your career," he says. "The first is to be a good follower and a good contributor.
"Then they develop you towards a leadership role knowing that you are going to commission as an officer. Learning those skills during college prepared me well for working at MITRE."
In addition, knowing the military terminology and having a familiarity with many of the government organizations he works with helped make the transition to MITRE seamless.
A Different Way to Serve
When asked if he had any advice for other early career professionals, Bundas was quick to pass on a suggestion he received as a new graduate.
"Don't be afraid to try new or different jobs. If I hadn't taken that to heart, I probably wouldn’t have found MITRE."
He adds that MITRE gives you the opportunity to do the right thing for the right reasons. "The focus here is finding the best solution for your sponsors."
While starting civilian life immediately after completing his degree wasn't part of his original plan, Bundas is glad to have found a career and a company whose mission aligns with his own.
"MITRE gave me a different way to serve my country," he says. "The military needs solutions to tough problems. At MITRE, we're committed to solving those challenges so that the warfighter can focus on the mission."
—by Kay M. Upham
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