WORCESTER, Mass. – Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) graduate Christine M. (Fillion) Miska '93 was honored at a ceremony in Cambridge, Mass., on March 5 as one of the 2008 Women to Watch by Mass High Tech: The Journal of New England Technology. Miska works as a systems engineering functional manager at BAE Systems IR Imaging Systems in Lexington, Mass. She was one of 10 honorees recognized as New England's most accomplished women in the high tech industry and was chosen from among more than 100 submissions.
The 10 Women to Watch were recognized by Mass High Tech for their outstanding dedication to technology, entrepreneurship, lifelong learning, and civic responsibility. The honorees spanned the region's technology community, from life sciences to telecommunications to new energy.
"These are women in all areas of the technology economy, effecting change within some of the largest corporations in the region or starting their own technology companies," said Douglas Banks, Mass High Tech editor. "Also noteworthy is their interest in giving back — mentoring younger women who are trying to succeed in a very competitive environment."
Miska, 36, graduated from WPI in 1993 with a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering. She earned her master's degree in electrical engineering from Syracuse University. While a student at WPI, she was a member of the Alpha Gamma Delta Sorority, a coxswain for the crew team, captain of the cheerleading squad, and president of the band. She earned a yellow belt in karate. The Agawam, Mass., native met her husband, Walter Miska '93, a civil engineering major, at WPI.
Miska's first engineering job was at Martin Marietta in Utica, N.Y., at a GE Aerospace business that had been acquired only days before she received her job offer. She was hired into the GE Edison engineering program that provided leadership training, rotational work assignments, and a master's degree in three years. After only two years, she became the youngest supervisor of the leadership program. She completed the master's program and gained experience as a radar systems engineer.
Miska worked for nine years as a systems engineer for airborne signal intelligence systems at Lockheed Martin in Hudson, N.H., before it was sold to BAE Systems. Her assignments included leadership roles that increased in responsibility from a team leader to a program engineering manager of a $10 million program. Miska's department at BAE makes infrared goggles and scopes for night vision, enabling soldiers and firefighters to see in the dark and through smoke. The displays show infrared-only or regular light with an infrared overlay. The systems can also be mounted on tanks or used as handheld devices, allowing viewers to see tire tracks, tank tracks, and footprints.
One of 20 employees in BAE Systems in North America selected to take part in the 2008 Leadership Enhancement and Accelerated Development Program, Miska has also participated in numerous mentor programs and those that encourage girls to learn about engineering. She led a "Women in Technology" program for high school students, facilitated high school hands-on demonstrations, and was a guest speaker teaching job interview skills for WPI's Women in Electrical and Computer Engineering. Miska also serves as a member of the IEEE Society, and from 2002 to 2005 she was an alumni volunteer on the Advisory Board for Leadership Education and Practice at WPI.
"Christine Miska exemplifies the women who choose to come to WPI—bright, dedicated, hardworking, and ambitious," said John Orr, WPI's provost ad interim. "WPI is proud of her accomplishments and the role that we may have played in providing a foundation for achieving the excellence for which she has been honored."
Miska and her husband live in Ayer, Mass., with their two children. Outside of work she plays volleyball, coaches her kids' soccer teams, and serves as secretary of their school's Parent Teacher Association.
Last year, WPI graduate Karen Tegan Padir '90, vice president of enterprise Java platforms at Sun Microsystems Inc., was honored as one of the 2007 Women to Watch. For the second year in a row, WPI was a platinum sponsor of the ceremony.
"WPI is proud to sponsor this year's Women to Watch event, and we are especially proud that one of our graduates was among the honorees," Orr added. "The work of each woman honored gives us hope for a promising future for ourselves, for our children, and collectively as a global society."