Finding your first job is rarely easy, but for many college graduates
the technical experience gained through an internship can be the
ticket to a job offer after graduation. Since the 1970s, MITRE has
been hiring technical co-op students and interns at the Bedford,
Massachusetts, and McLean, Virginia, headquarters as well as at
several of the corporation's sites around the world. Mark Krupienski
first came to MITRE as a Northeastern University co-op student in
2002. Pleased with his co-op experience, he returned after graduation
in 2004 and became a full-time member of the technical staff.
Krupienski, a senior integrated electronics engineer in MITRE's
Advanced Wireless Electronics Department, contributes to the effort
of modernizing the Global Positioning System (GPS). At any given
time, MITRE staff across the corporation are working on a wide variety
of GPS-related projects—ranging from robots, to aviation guidance
systems, to handheld navigation systems, to unmanned vehicles and
aircraft. Krupienski's work focuses on the design, layout, and testing
of more efficient power amplifiers used in GPS satellite transmitters.
"I first got involved with the GPS work because my manager thought
it would be a good place to learn more skills and I was able to
offer immediate support," says Krupienski. "It's interesting work,
and I really appreciate that my job allows me to work on many different
things. One day I might be in the lab and another day I might be
running simulations on my computer."
Finding the Right Position
The two years Krupienski worked at MITRE during college provided
a wealth of technical experience that complemented his coursework.
"As a co-op student, I worked extensively on various netted sensors
projects," he says. "I also began working on the Enabling Technologies
for Mobile Communications research project and supported the effort
to develop new high efficiency solid state power amplifiers for
transmitters for future GPS satellites."
He continues, "More recently I have supported the designing, building,
and testing of L-band power amplifiers, based on state-of-the-art
devices. This work consists of model validation, calibrated measurements
of the device, coordination in building and assembling the test
boards, and completing small and large signal testing. I have also
helped develop and test boards for numerous semiconductor devices."
Currently, Krupienski is devoting part of his time to the development
of the military's Multi-function Information Distribution System
(MIDS) Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) terminal. "The MIDS JTRS
terminal is the next generation of MIDS products. The initial product
baseline will provide the current MIDS Link 16 and tactical air
navigation functions, with three additional programmable channels
to run various communications, navigation, and command and control
waveforms within the form factor of the existing MIDS Low Volume
Terminal," he explains.
Burning the Midnight Oil
Eager to keep learning, Krupienski is attending graduate school
part-time while working full-time at MITRE. "I'm currently more
than halfway to completing my master's degree in electrical engineering
from Northeastern University," he says. "I attend classes at night
and take one class per semester. If I have questions, everyone at
MITRE seems willing to help. Plus, MITRE is very flexible about
work hours. It is clear to me that the company's management realizes
the importance of higher education. I've always felt my managers
and colleagues support me 100 percent."
Beyond his graduate coursework, Krupienski has also had several
opportunities to take professional courses and attend technical
conferences. "I have completed courses in MATLAB, Agilent's Advanced
Design System for RF simulation and design, technical writing, and
briefings and presentations. Plus, I was able to attend the 2005
IEEE MTT-S International Microwave Symposium."
Looking back over the first few years of his career, Krupienski
is grateful for the opportunities he has had and appreciates the
supportive environment. "The collaborative atmosphere at MITRE is
clearly evident—everybody is willing to help in order to get
a job done," he says. And when asked what he would tell a recent
or future college graduate who was interested in coming to work
at MITRE, his reply is quick and sure. "I would tell them that MITRE
is a great place to work, especially if you plan to continue with
—by Kay M. Upham
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