Expanding the Roster

A focus on the diverse workforce that makes us stronger 

To shine a spotlight on the importance of diversity in our continuously evolving workforce, MITRE Engenuity took the time to speak with just a few of the women involved in our pursuit of a more secure nation. Christina Roberts, Rosa Montanez, Maria Donata Fanelle, and Samantha Katcher, no strangers to the importance of secure operations, took the time to speak with us and give their input about how they see their unique perspectives as strengths in the pursuit of solving problems for a safer world.

Not limited to diversity among staff, MITRE Engenuity’s cyber offerings present a wide variety of perspectives with which to view and apply a threat-informed defense mindset.

  • ATT&CK® Evaluationsbrings together cybersecurity solutions providers with MITRE experts to evaluate a providers’ capabilities in the face of adversary attack. Our process is a neutral, unbiased assessment, and results are published for free.  
  • The Center for Threat Informed Defense advances the state-of-the-art and the state-of-the-practice in threat-informed cybersecurity that aims to anticipate adversaries’ actions globally. Comprised of participant organizations from all over the world with highly sophisticated security teams, the Center builds on MITRE ATT&CK® to build and disseminate effective tools and processes.  
  • Our Embedded Capture the Flag™ (eCTF) competition sets itself apart from more common software-focused challenges by focusing on embedded systems, which present distinct security issues. Occurring over spring semester, this student competition includes Design and Attack phases to give competitors an opportunity to build, attack, and defend a secure embedded system. 

These innovative offerings underscore the many benefits that MITRE Engenuity brings to the wider MITRE institution, rooted in how we can collaborate not just with industry, academia, and government, but particularly with staff from throughout the company. We are an essential component of MITRE’s goal of promoting an inclusive environmentwhere everyone can have a sense of belonging and thrive.

Speaking for themselves

A staff with a diversity of background and thought can only strengthen the work that MITRE and MITRE Engenuity do, and to reflect on that, we asked the four women mentioned earlier for their input. Complex institutions solving complex problems necessitate complex thought, and Christina Roberts, a Systems Engineer working in military and veteran health integrated tech said that “my neurodiversity gives me the ability to find creative solutions and look for efficiencies in my work planning.”

It’s not simply a unique skillset that makes diversity in the workplace such a strength. As Rosa Montanez, a Cyber Security Engineer, explains, “systems are defined from the dominant group perspective, and often not to accommodate differences. To overcome that, I built a network of allies and mentors to help me pursue research and innovations projects and navigate bureaucratic ‘red tape.’” By expanding our roster of employees to include underrepresented voices, we can increase effectiveness and utilize talent to notice blind spots and build workarounds that improve the whole organization. Maria Donata Fanelle, who works in Cloud Engineering, approaches collaboration in a similar way, stating that she must “study for behavioral interviews just like others study for algorithms question. I made a list of common questions and their derivatives. I found people who could cross-communicate between autistics and neurotypicals.”

MITRE and MITRE Engenuity are built to offer unique solutions to solve issues that are critical to national security, building consensus around innovative programs and offerings that deliver for the public. In doing this, it is essential that we foster an inclusive environment, something that Samantha Katcher (insert role) believes we’re achieving. Like many of us, she began her work during the pandemic, and notes that though slow going over remote work, she has made valuable connections across the company. 

A purple background with the words celebrating diversity in cyber.

Our celebration of these diverse points of view should, of course, not be limited to a reflection on cybersecurity awareness month. Taking the time to consider what makes this organization special is essential as we endeavor to solve complex problems by creating actionable solutions. We’re making the world a safer place and utilizing diversity as a strength to do it. 

© 2023 MITRE Engenuity, LLC. Approved for Public Release. Document number ME0110