ARLINGTON, Va. — Another location in Northeastern’s global university system is officially open for business, offering graduate degrees and conducting research in areas of security, resiliency and technology.
Northeastern’s new campus in Arlington, Virginia, is located in one of the D.C. area’s urban neighborhoods and tech hubs. It was abuzz Thursday as students, graduates, faculty, university leaders and industry partners gathered for the site’s official launch.
Atop the sleek Arlington Tower, university leadership emphasized how one of Northeastern’s 13 global campuses is positioned to make an impact in the D.C. metro area, where job opportunities in technology lag only behind San Francisco in terms of concentration.
“We are right here in the heart of the National Capital Region, where technology, innovation, policy and security all intersect — and are going to come to life here on the Arlington campus,” Jamie Jones Miller, dean and CEO of Northeastern Arlington told the assembled crowd.
Graduate degree programs will initially center on security, technology, innovation and policy, mirroring the political and economic drivers of Northern Virginia and D.C. Equipped with “state-of-the-art flexible learning spaces,” the campus boasts an array of amenities, promising to be a place that fosters intensive collaboration and research.
Additionally, the Arlington campus will house the Kostas Research Institute for Homeland Security. The institute’s technical “thrust” areas will focus on such topics as advanced manufacturing and sustainment; chemical and biological technologies; embedded intelligence, autonomy and robotics; and “mission, intelligence, decision” analytics and support; among others.
The new campus space is designed to foster the kind of collaboration that is at the heart of KRI’s research efforts. Because of the campus’s proximity to Capitol Hill, the Pentagon and other policy centers, strategic partnerships between defense and technology leaders will be key to Arlington’s success, said Mary Ludden, Northeastern’s senior vice president for global network and strategic initiatives.
Last week’s event was also one of the university’s historic Experience Powered by Northeastern campaign stops. Diane Nishigaya MacGillivray, senior vice president for university advancement, introduced Winslow Sargeant, a 1986 Northeastern graduate and a member of the university’s Board of Trustees, who spoke about his alma mater’s rapid growth since the late ’80s — from its Boston roots into an institution that is “dynamic, global, diverse and mobile.”
“We are so proud to have a new Arlington campus and a new presence in the region,” Sargeant said. “I grew up in Boston, so I’ve seen the growth of Northeastern. Of course now, we’re global. We’re all over the place … and I’m so pleased to see the growth.”
Several Northeastern graduates spoke at the kickoff event, including Cinnamon Bottaro, co-founder of Northeastern’s UNICEF chapter. Bottaro, who self-developed a co-op at the embassy of Belize, spoke about the endless possibilities that await the students of the Arlington campus.
“Northeastern taught me that if it doesn’t exist, make it happen,” she said. “If you can’t do it, let’s find a way.”
That vision Bottaro had as a student led to the discovery of her passion and livelihood.
“I stand here before you 12 years later as the deputy chief of mission at the embassy of Belize,” she told the group. “It has been an honor to serve my government as a lead negotiator, and this opportunity would not have been possible without my formative years at Northeastern.”
The incoming class of graduate students will be Arlington’s first cohort. One member of that class is 24-year-old Omar Elmady, who is about to begin his master’s in computer science through the university’s Align program.
Align gives students without a background in computer science a direct path to an advanced degree.
Elmady, who has an undergraduate degree in psychology, spoke about bringing an interdisciplinary lens to the tech world, with an interest in probing the deeper ethical questions and considerations surrounding technology use in a highly technological, interconnected world.
“My interest isn’t so much in the details of technology — although that is relevant — I’m more interested in learning how to utilize that technology for social good,” he said. “I think that, because Arlington is so close to these centers of policy and government, this is a great opportunity.”
Leging Wu, 27, is another member of the incoming class studying information systems. She spoke about the availability of jobs in government and tech as an opportunity to think hard about how to best leverage her co-op experience.
Several weeks into meeting her peers, Wu said she’s already made friends with other members of her class.
“This event is quite amazing for me,” Wu said. “I’ve met a lot of interesting people here.”
Santo LaTores, an early graduate of Northeastern’s public administration program, who now teaches business management at the University of Maryland Global Campus, came out to the launch after seeing the email invite for graduates.
“It’s the perfect place for a branch of the university,” LaTores said. “To watch it grow over the years … and the efforts toward a global university is quite impressive. To pull something like that off in the world of education is very unusual.”
The evening also featured six interactive showcases manned by Northeastern faculty from across the global network, which explored topics ranging from “AI to empower people and society;” “experiential robotics;” “resilience, sustainability and policy;” “the wireless internet of things;” among others.