Alumnae/i Feature

A Rewarding Job with a Global Impact

As a Systems Engineer at the MITRE Corporation, Megan Ludgate '16 analyzes data to make a positive impact on the country and world.

Megan Ludgate majored in economics and mathematics and graduated in 2016. We asked her some questions about her career thus far.

Can you tell us about your current position?

Megan Ludgate kissing a giraffe in the Nairobi Giraffe Center, Kenya, March 2017
Ludgate kissing a giraffe in the Nairobi Giraffe Center, Kenya, March 2017

I'm a Systems Engineer with the MITRE Corporation, a non-for-profit working in the public interest across federal, state and local governments, as well as industry and academia. MITRE provides research and innovation to address complicated problems with a systems engineering perspective.

My day-to-day involves analyzing data in the context of a bigger system view. My career with MITRE began with a paid internship after graduation, which evolved into a full-time position. In my role at MITRE, I feel I'm able to make a positive impact on the country and the world. For example, I'm currently on a project addressing the spread and amplification of disinformation, a highly relevant and interesting problem to the world today.

One of the most important aspects of my life since graduation has been balancing a rewarding career with my love of travel. I've been able to arrange a career that allows for a generous amount of time off, which has given me the opportunity to visit four continents, summit one of the highest peaks (Kilimanjaro), and meet countless interesting people.

How did Simmons prepare you for your current position?

While at Simmons, I gained an ability to think critically and guide my own learning. To meet the independent learning requirement, I wrote a senior thesis, which required collecting and analyzing my own data set. The skills I learned during that process led me to the work I do today. I'm able to adapt to a wide range of technical work because I can ask the right questions and do my own research — this has provided me with many different options in my career.

In addition, by participating in clubs and organizations at Simmons, I gained leadership and speaking skills, which have allowed me to stand out, progress quickly in my career, and to advocate for the type of career and lifestyle I want.

What experiences at Simmons were most useful in finding your job and doing the work you do?

Megan Ludgate summiting Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.
Ludgate summiting Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

Simmons taught me the value of connections — my first position at MITRE began with a connection between a Simmons professor, Donna Beers, and a Simmons alum who also worked at MITRE, Connie Lewis '63. Both Donna and Connie have been mentors and role models to me, and have helped me grow and succeed.

Because of my network of peers and professors at Simmons, I was able to stretch my comfort zone and develop valuable skills. Now my network continues to provide mentorship, support, and encouragement, allowing me to achieve great things.

What advice would you offer current students and recent graduates?

Simmons offers a variety of opportunities to learn and grow as both an academic student and as a leader in the community — take every opportunity that comes your way, you never know what experience will be the catalyst for a lifelong passion.

Photos courtesy of Megan Ludgate.

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