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Ricklin Named New Director of CMU Software Engineering Institute Software Solutions Division

Ricklin Named New Director of CMU Software Engineering Institute Software Solutions Division
Press Release

Pittsburgh, Pa., January 8, 2018—Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute today announced the appointment of Dr. Jennifer Ricklin as director of the SEI’s Software Solutions Division.

A federally funded research and development center (FFRDC), the SEI helps government and industry organizations develop and operate software systems that are secure and reliable. The SEI’s Software Solutions Division develops and transitions methods, technical solutions, and services for software-reliant systems, thus ensuring critical mission capabilities are achieved in a predictable, affordable, and sustainable way. The SEI’s FFRDC sponsor, the U.S. Department of Defense, has a nearly $1.5 trillion acquisition portfolio that is critically dependent upon highly complex software-reliant systems.

Ricklin previously served as senior adviser to the director in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Research & Engineering), chief scientist of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and director of the Homeland Security Advanced Research Projects Agency (HSARPA).

“With her extensive background across both federal defense and civil agencies, Jennifer Ricklin is one of the nation’s most talented professionals working at the intersection of defense science and technology research,” said Farnam Jahanian, Carnegie Mellon’s interim president. “We are so pleased to have her expertise to lead the Software Solutions Division of the SEI and work with partners in the government, private sector and with researchers across CMU on our most difficult software challenges.”

In addition to her work at the departments of Defense and Homeland Security, Ricklin also served as chief technologist for the Air Force Research Laboratory, director of Strategic Technologies at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, program manager at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and as a scientist and leader at the Army Research Laboratory.

“Research from our Software Solutions Division plays a critical role in modern defense systems because of their complex functionality and use of autonomy,” said Dr. Paul Nielsen, SEI director and CEO. “Jennifer’s extensive experience with advanced technology in the Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security makes her ideally suited to lead this division in its work to make software safe, predictable, reliable, and affordable.”

Ricklin received her bachelor’s degree in physics from Sam Houston State University, her master’s degree in electrical engineering from New Mexico State University, and her doctorate in electrical engineering from Johns Hopkins University. She is a senior member of IEEE and a fellow of the Optical Society of America and SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics. She has more than 100 publications and patents, and is certified by the Army Acquisition Corps for Level 3 Program Management.

“As both a government and private sector entrepreneur, researcher, acquisition specialist and adviser for the past 30 years, I’ve come to appreciate the importance of supporting and transitioning cutting-edge research that delivers highly reliable and effective advanced capabilities,” said Ricklin. “The SEI’s role in providing innovative software solutions is critical. I’m excited to work with this exceptional team to create solutions for our nation’s most vexing software challenges.”

For more information about the SEI Software Solutions Division, see

About the Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute
The Software Engineering Institute (SEI) is a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense and operated by Carnegie Mellon University. The SEI works with organizations to make measurable improvements in their software engineering and cybersecurity capabilities by providing technical leadership to advance the practice of software engineering and security. For more information, visit the SEI website at