Interim president Anne Holton, Rich Byrne, senior vice president for programs and technology at MITRE, the Patriot, and MITRE employees with Mason faculty and staff at the Mason@MITRE reception. / Photo by Christopher Bobo
More than 100 George Mason alumni, faculty, and staff gathered October 24 for a fast-paced “Mason@MITRE” alumni engagement event. The MITRE Corporation, a not-for-profit company that operates federally funded research and development centers, is one of the largest employers of Mason alumni, with more than 500 graduates among the company’s 8,200 employees.
Rich Byrne, senior vice president for programs and technology at MITRE, spearheaded the breakfast gathering, held at the company’s headquarters in McLean, Virginia. An active volunteer leader at Mason, Byrne is a member of the Board of Trustees of the George Mason University Foundation as well as the College of Science Advisory Board.
The event’s purpose was to show Mason alumni who work at MITRE the many productive ways they can engage with their alma mater, and to highlight the strong partnership between the two organizations. MITRE employees had the chance to meet the deans of several Mason colleges, while networking with colleagues who also attended Mason. They shouted out answers to Mason trivia questions and snagged free swag, including several coveted sweatshirts that went to winners of the trivia contest and of the Mason-MITRE bingo game.
As Mason’s interim president, Anne Holton, said, “The connections between Mason and MITRE are extremely strong and go in both directions. We understand our role at Mason is to help supply your workforce, helping you have the talent you need to meet your mission.”
Noting that Mason is “the largest tech talent producer in the commonwealth of Virginia,” Holton said that the number of computing graduates will increase significantly over the next several years, through the Arlington Innovation District initiative. These graduates will continue to fuel the talent pipeline of many of Mason’s partners, including MITRE.
Jerod Parker, BS Electrical Engineering ’97, a MITRE lab manager with more than 20 years as an employee, described his career path from Mason to MITRE. Parker, who attended Mason after earning a competitive, full academic scholarship, interned at MITRE while an undergraduate, and went directly there after graduating. His wife, Tennille Parker, BA Government and Politics ’97, whom he met at Mason, is a past president of the Alumni Association.
“The thing I love most about our university is the incredible story of its graduates,” said Trishana Bowden, vice president for advancement and alumni relations and president of the George Mason University Foundation. “When we go to events like this and have celebrations of alumni achievement, it is inspiring. … You are a great example of Mason pride and Mason Patriots. Thank you for coming out this morning and celebrating Mason at MITRE.”
October 30, 2019 / Rob Riordan