The Martin Luther King Jr memorial sculpture.

Innovation and Expertise, Applied in Service to Our Nation and our Neighbors

By Molly Manchenton

Martin Luther King Jr’s message of service resonates with MITRE, in and outside the workplace, and beyond our country’s borders.

MITRE has partnered with government, academia, and industry for more than six decades, pioneering for a better future and solving tough problems to make the world safer. What sets us apart as an innovative organization is our commitment to cultivating a diverse and inclusive workforce dedicated to serving in the public interest.

Each year, the national holiday celebrating the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., resonates with us, because we aspire to be part of what King called the “creative, dedicated minority that has made the world better.”

Volunteering with community organizations, driving support to people in war-torn regions, educating a new generation of science, technology, engineering, and math professionals—MITRE employees are making a difference in the workplace, in their communities, and beyond. 

“Whether in national security, national preparedness, social equity, public health and safety, or protecting critical infrastructure, our colleagues continue to leverage deep technical expertise and unbiased rigor for the public good,” says Jason Providakes, president and CEO. “MITRE is solving problems for a safer world — through acts of service to the nation.” 

One example is MITRE’s Ted Smits, a nuclear systems engineer based in Omaha, Nebraska. For 20 years, Smits has helped organize, train coaches for, and ensure the fairness and integrity of swimming competitions for Nebraska Special Olympics. His work fosters inclusivity for all athletes, regardless of level of ability.  He is not alone.

Applying Our Expertise to Global Challenges

As devastating images emerged from Ukraine of homes destroyed, innocent civilians under attack, and more than 10 million refugees fleeing their cities and villages, an organic movement blossomed at MITRE to answer the question, “What can we do?”

A MITRE team narrowed a list of 100 proposals to 11. Our leadership committed more than $1 million of internal company resources toward the top proposals, and our teams went to work, applying expertise from our federal R&D centers and MITRE labs to address national security, humanitarian, and communication infrastructure needs.

At the community level, Tanya Wynn, a Ukraine native and now contracting specialist in our McLean, Virginia, office used her company Civic Time benefit to help the most vulnerable. She worked with churches and others from the Ukrainian community in the United States to create a relief collective that sends food and other necessities to distribution centers in Poland. From there, the goods are transported to Lviv and other cities inside Ukraine.

MITRE is solving problems for a safer world — through acts of service to the nation.


Extending STEM Opportunities to Underrepresented Students

MITRE academic partnerships from grade school through college are opening doors for students from underrepresented communities to STEM careers. Community partnerships are vital to creating new talent pipelines to careers where professionals are in short supply. Stephanie Turner, MITRE vice president of Inclusion, Diversity, and Social Innovation, says the work begins at the root of education—in grade school, and specifically in the 4th and 8th grade.

But these connections must continue through high school and to colleges. Our outreach to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) feeds several of our student programs, including MITRE’s Cyber Futures Internship Program. Students in computer engineering and cyber majors work with MITRE teams on real-world problems and learn about the breadth of opportunities that exist in this critical field.

MITRE also partners with colleges and high schools to familiarize students with emerging work in synthetic biology, artificial intelligence, digital health, and more. MITRE’s Innovation Hubs, located near sites in Florida, Texas, and Alabama, have strengthened research, education, and recruitment partnerships with Miami Dade College and Florida International University, the University of Texas at San Antonio, and Morehouse College, just to name a few.

Mentoring The New Generation of Innovators

Tomorrow’s breakthroughs don’t always emerge through established business channels, but innovators from underrepresented populations often lack the resources and guidance to bring their ideas forward. MITRE partnered with MassChallenge, a global network of innovators, to launch a mentorship program that lowers the barriers for these founders in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

In doing so, we strengthened our commitment to help create a more equitable distribution of and access to key resources for growth.

“We’re proud to deepen our relationship with MassChallenge, partnering with our Corporate Social Innovation function to strengthen our commitment to underserved populations and our next generation of innovators,” Turner says.

Each of these efforts demonstrates MITRE’s vision of pioneering for a better future—for everyone.