The Sky's the Limit: A Rising Star at MITRE
Levonia Moore nearly missed working at MITRE. In 2000, she attended
a job fair at the McLean Hilton sponsored by The Washington
Post. Moore saw the MITRE booth, but kept going.
"I had never heard of MITRE, and I didn't know what they did, so
I moved past the table," she explains. In the hallway, a human resources
representative asked, "Are you interested in a position?" The next
thing Moore knew, she was having an on-the-spot interview with chief
security engineer Chuck Boeckman. He was immediately impressed.
Moore had a formal interview the next week with Marion Michaud,
executive director of information security. Today, Moore is a senior
information systems engineer in MITRE's Department of Defense federally
funded research and development center. "It was purely by chance
that I landed at MITRE, but I'm glad I did," she says.
In her first MITRE role, Moore supported the U.S. Transportation
Command. She helped develop strategic security plans and implement
the Information Assurance Information Protection Program. She also
served as the team lead to enhance the security infrastructure.
Moore currently supports a Department of Justice component's Information
Sharing Policy Board. She provides technical support to the senior
executive committee, serves as the liaison between inter-agency
divisions, and participates in cross-functional initiatives on behalf
of senior executives. Simultaneously, she offers project management
and technical support to the Internal Revenue Service's Treasury
Division. Her work is helping the IRS modernize its Web portal infrastructure,
which supports national electronic tax services.
"I enjoy helping sponsors define the scope of their work. My role
is to evaluate current systems, talk with stakeholders, and come
back with recommendations," explains Moore. "I always keep in mind
MITRE's responsibility to help sponsors implement the best systems
Gayla Horn, associate department head of MITRE's Enterprise &
Bio Technologies, says Moore "has a genuine ability to identify
the core issues of complex problems and communicate them effectively
to a non-technical audience."
Three Degrees of Technology
Just as she unintentionally found MITRE, Moore stumbled into technology.
"I wanted to be a lawyer," she says. "Then I was going to be an
accountant." She changed her mind during a basic computing class
her senior year of high school. "I decided right then that's what
I wanted to study. I went in as a computer information systems major
at Hampton University, but my dean said I could do more with a computer
science degree. That was the best advice I've received."
The advice paid off: Moore was recruited by Lockheed Martin before
she finished her bachelor's degree. After graduation, she was trained
as a UNIX systems administrator and later served as a lead systems
administrator for Raytheon.
Moore went on to earn a master's in computer systems management
from the University of Maryland. She finished the degree while at
MITRE, with support from the corporation's Basic Educational Assistance
Program, which reimburses employees for tuition and certain fees
for approved coursework. A strong believer in education—and
not one to sit still—Moore is currently pursuing her doctorate
in information technology from George Mason University.
"My management team has been 100 percent supportive," she says.
"In fact, they urged me to apply for the AGDP." Besides reimbursing
students for tuition and books, MITRE's Accelerated Graduate Degree
Program provides selected employees one paid day off each week for
Taking Time to Give Back
Technology has indeed served Moore well. She was named a 2007 Technology
Rising Star by the National Women of Color Technology Awards Conference
for her outstanding leadership abilities and technical accomplishments.
Beyond her professional accomplishments, however, Moore was also
recognized for her personal efforts to encourage young minority
women to enter the technology field.
"What can I do to help you?" is something Moore asks frequently.
Seeking answers to this question fuels her volunteer work.
Moore serves as a mentor and tutor for high school girls through
her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta. "I want young African-American
women to see that they can accomplish things," Moore says. She also
teaches information systems as an adjunct professor at Strayer University
and University of Maryland. "I see this as a way of giving back,
using knowledge I have to help others achieve," she explains. Last
year, Moore completed the Virginia Beach Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon,
raising money for AIDS research through sponsorships, and she regularly
participates in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. On the job,
she is actively involved with MITRE's Corporate Diversity Awareness
Balancing her work, educational pursuits, volunteering, and teaching
leaves Moore with little spare time. If she finds a moment of leisure,
she likes to go for a run or read fiction. What will she do when
she completes her doctorate? "I think I'll need to take a real vacation!"
A smile flashes across her face. "But knowing the type of person
I am, I will probably find another educational opportunity."
—by Karina Wright
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