student stories: write yours in the EMSE department

Jillian’s story:
As a systems engineering student, Jillian Miles received “opportunity after opportunity.”

Why study systems engineering?

 Listen as Dr. Ekundayo Shittu discusses the exciting contributions that systems engineering makes to society.

Senior Design

The systems engineering degree program culminates in a two-semester capstone design experience that gives all of our graduates experience working with clients and carrying out a real systems engineering project. A couple of examples demonstrate the variety of projects our students take on.


Traffic Mitigation Strategies for Pre-Hurricane Evacuation

4 EMSE students accepting Melton award

For their project on mitigating traffic issues before an emergency hurricane evacuation, seniors Elizabeth Harten, Roma Patel, Lindsay Ryan, and Joshua Sawyer were awarded Third Place in the Pelton Award for Outstanding Senior Project. They not only identified the best way to mitigate traffic but also created a proof of concept application that interfaces between emergency officials and evacuees and collects data using crowdsourcing. Watch them present their research.


Railway Transportation Expansion and Resource Coverage Analysis in Nigeria

4 EMSE students and a map of their project

Cooper Grever, Debora Kropp, Tori Monteleone, and Joshua Smith’s project described the construction of a data-driven railway development map to increase coverage for delivery of vaccines to remote areas of Nigeria. The team modeled multiple railway networks to maximize coverage and developed a forecasting model to account for population growth and an expanded railway. The team’s work is published in IEEE.



When you join us in systems engineering, you join a small and tight-knit community of students and faculty.

Alexa Rosdahl’s faculty mentor has helped with research opportunities, career connections, and almost unlimited coursework tutoring.


zoom graduation meeting zoom graduation performance like Ok Go

Even the COVID-19 pandemic couldn’t stop our community. When the Class of 2020 graduation was cancelled and students were sent home, the department, led by Dr. Joost Santos, organized a systems engineering Zoom graduation, complete with karaoke, tiktok videos from senior design teams, video tributes from the faculty, and joyful or tearful testimonials from the students. As graduating seniors put it:

"Not having a graduation and not being in person due to COVID was really difficult, but the virtual graduation party that the department threw was the next best thing. It was funny, heartwarming, and just what I needed that week. The videos and speeches the faculty prepared captured how all of us were feeling after our four years together. Having students, faculty, and parents all join was very thoughtful and meaningful.” 

- Aditya Singh, Class of 2020


“The Covid-19 pandemic was a hard time for everyone; however, the EMSE Department sacrificed their own time to make their students’ graduation celebration special. The graduation for the class of 2020 was canceled and many people moved miles away, including my own friends. The virtual graduation party made up for everything that my peers and I missed out on at the end of our Senior year. It was a thoughtful, personal gift that allowed us to connect with our friends to celebrate our accomplishments and allowed our family to connect with the department that guided us to become successful professionals.”

- Elise Nittinger, Class of 2020


Study Abroad

Study abroad programs are fantastic opportunities to broaden your education. Students in the Department of Engineering Management and Systems Engineering can take advantage of new study abroad programs that the School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) has arranged with partner universities, or work with their advisors to develop study abroad options in other countries. Learn more about SEAS Study Abroad programs.


Caroline Walton studied abroad in Dublin, Ireland during her sophomore year.


Internships and Jobs

Systems engineering students have interned with a wide variety of organizations, including NASA, Deloitte, Leidos, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Disney, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Fannie May, Accenture, Booz-Allen Hamilton, and many others.

Vicky Nilsen at NASA Headquarters Yumna Dahab at WMATA internship
As a rising senior, Vicky Nilsen completed an internship at NASA Headquarters and worked on cost and risk modeling for a variety of NASA projects. She traveled for conferences and visits to several other NASA centers, including Langley Research Center.
As a Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Metro College Intern within the Safety and Environmental Management Department, Yumna Dahab supported the development of a Cognitive Task Analysis for rail traffic controller activities and reported incidents.

The School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) provides internship and career support through the SEAS Career Services Center. Systems engineering students are encouraged to make the most of their college experience by taking advantage of the programs and services offered by the SEAS Career Services Center. Learn more about the SEAS Career Services Center.


Undergraduate Research

Many systems engineering students have worked on undergraduate research with faculty, on topics ranging from vaccine distribution in Nigeria to design team communication at NASA to international development in Uganda.


finley in uganda emse research
Finley Wetmore studied agricultural financing in Uganda, mentored by Dr. Erica Gralla. She built system maps that show the influence of multiple factors on farmers’ ability to get loans, based on interviews with financing stakeholders in Uganda, and she supported workshops in which international development stakeholders explored potential interventions to improve loan access. The work was funded by USAID.
Abigail Sharp and Justin Williams worked on a multidisciplinary team to develop green technologies for the US coal industry with Endoglobal, Inc. and Mississippi State University. The team leveraged a novel solar energy technology to develop a process that provides a route for low cost and low waste production of the engineered coal leading to green value-added products. The team’s work even was featured on a West Virginia news network.