NSBE - Convention 2011 - (Page 24)

dr. Kevin M. carter of Mit lincoln laboratory Living a dream Job in Cyber Security By Siobhan Leftwich M ost people pause when you ask them what they like most about their chosen profession. But not Kevin M. Carter, Ph.D., a technical staff member in the Cyber Systems and Technology Group at MIT Lincoln Laboratory in Lexington, Mass. “The quality of the people I work with is incredible,” says Dr. Carter, 28. “Forty percent of my colleagues have Ph.D.s, and 30 percent have master’s degrees. A few of my colleagues literally wrote the book on some of the topics we research.” This is heady stuff for an engineer who’s been a math and science geek since his “Because we’re a nonprofit, there’s no bottom line. That means we can spend more time creating the kinds of solutions our clients need.” middle school days in Danbury, Conn. Dr. Carter graduated from the University of Michigan with an M.S.E. degree in electrical engineering in 2006 and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering in April 2009. He joined MIT Lincoln Laboratory in February 2009 after completing his doctorate requirements and now works on problems of network security, situational awareness and anomaly detection. “The area I’m in is cyber security. So when I’m not in meetings, you can find me at my workstation doing lots of research and reading,” he says. Dr. Carter relishes the fact that his daily work involves solving real problems for clients, who include Department of Defense sponsors such as the U.S. Army and the U.S. Air Force. “Because we’re a nonprofit, there’s no bottom line,” he notes. “That means we can spend more time creating the kinds of solutions our clients need.” He also likes the fact that he and his colleagues have the opportunity to travel, write papers and do research in their fields. Although he enjoys 24 • nsbe magazine • convention 2011 being in program management, research is his first love. “I got my first taste of real research at the University of Michigan,” he recalls. “I had the opportunity to work with a world-class advisor and got a lot of publications out of the experience.” His academic research interests include statistical signal processing, pattern recognition and machine learning, with specific focuses on dimensionality reduction and manifold learning. Dr. Carter credits the many mentors who helped him along the way, including his parents. “Although both of my parents worked for IBM in nontechnical positions, they really helped foster my interest in engineering,” he says. In fact, his full scholarship to the University of Delaware, where he earned a B.S.E. in computer engineering, was funded by IBM and the University of Delaware. And he credits IBM veterans Colin Parris, Ted Childs Jr. (now retired) and Steven A. Jarrett (a NSBE national advisor) for encouraging him to pursue advanced degrees. How was he led to his current position? By University of Michigan alumni who worked for Lincoln Laboratory. “I can’t stress the importance of mentors enough,” he says. In the future, Dr. Carter plans to return to academia. “I’d love to teach at a school like the University of Michigan,” he says. “And I’d like to show other black students that they can make it through. I know that the few times I had a black professor, it really made a difference.” But Dr. Carter is not all work and no play. “I’m a normal, 28-year-old guy,” he laughs. “I like to watch sports, play flag football and basketball, and hang out with my family and friends. It’s just that engineering is more than a job to me.” In fact, you could say it’s a calling. ■■ www.nsbe.org http://www.ll.mit.edu/ http://www.nsbe.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of NSBE - Convention 2011

Nsbe - Convention 2011
The Essence of Engineering
Flipping the Script on Retention
Nsbe’s New High-Tech Hook-Ups!
The Programs Zone
David Anfield of Walmart
Kerry Nichols of NAVAIR
Arthur Hall of Philadelphia Gas Works
Kevin Engram of Illinois Tool Works
Dr. Kevin M. Carter of MIT Lincoln Laboratory
Nsbe Calendar
Membership News
Mack Named Clarkson University Trustee
National Advisory Board Update
Nsbe Honors a Diversity ‘champion’
Things to Do in St. Louis
Golden Torch Award Winners
NSBE’s Steve Earl: Building for Home and Community
Employer Profiles
Advertisers Index

NSBE - Convention 2011