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Hema Retty, BENG '10

(Electrical Engineering)

Developing AI in the world of defense

What’s Hema Retty been up to since earning her degree in electrical engineering in 2010?

She’d tell you, but then she’d have to … well, you know the old joke.

Suffice it to say that life in the research world of the defense contracting industry is exciting.

“I love the fact that I get to develop cutting edge technology that the world has never seen,” says Retty. “I also get to work on different short-term projects, so I'm always learning something new.”

Since 2017, she’s been working in the research business area of BAE Systems, Inc., a large American defense contractor that supplies customers such as DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), Army Research Labs and the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center.

Retty is senior manager of the Cognitive Radio Frequency Technology group, leading a team of scientists working on AI applied to the wireless domain.

“What got my foot in the door at BAE Systems was my passion to pursue a career in research,” she says.

After graduating from McMaster, Retty headed to Virginia Tech to earn a master’s degree, followed by her PhD in electrical engineering.

She joined BAE as a principal scientist, then quickly moved into a senior management role with responsibility for business development and annual sales targets.

She’s now working on an executive MBA at the Wharton Business School.

While at McMaster, Retty was active in student clubs, eventually serving as president of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Society (ECES).

She launched the first ECE clothing line, started the first department Kipling breakfast and organized a successful Industry Night.

She urges current students to take advantage of career center resources and mentorship opportunities.

“I believe those discussions can help shape your future early on,” says Retty, who adds, “Also, enjoy your time at McMaster and make long-lasting friendships. You will never get the opportunity to have those experiences again in your life.”

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