Space Force Provides Launchpad for Stonehill Alum
Equipped with her degree in Political Science & International Studies, Kennedy (Muise) Soucy ’19 is now expanding her skills through a unique training program offered by the U.S. Space Force.
Kennedy (Muise) Soucy’s career is out of this world — literally.
On a typical workday, you may find her discussing the capabilities of U.S. military satellites with a specialized engineering team. At other times, she’s hard at work educating international partners — particularly countries in Europe and the Indo-Pacific — about how their own militaries can use American-made satellites.
It’s all part and parcel of the 2019 graduate’s role in the U.S. Space Force’s PALACE Acquire program, which offers recent college graduates a three-year rotational training program in diverse fields such as: program management, engineering, psychology, computer science, physical science, and operations research analysis. After completing the program, participants can parlay their experience into a full-time position with the federal government.
For Soucy, who is in her third and final year of the program, the role is the culmination of long-held career interests. At Stonehill, she earned her degree in political science, with a concentration in international relations. A minor in French provided her with further career opportunities to explore different cultures.
Soucy didn’t set out on her career with an eye on the U.S. military, though she did have personal insight into what life was like in the armed forces. Her mother, Kimberly Crider, is a retired major general of the U.S. Air Force, and her father, James Muise, is a retired senior master sergeant of the U.S. Air Force.
“Because of my parents’ careers in the military, I had an idea of what opportunities and resources civilians in the Department of Defense had available to them,” she said.
Through a mix of internships, volunteer roles and professional positions, Soucy gained experiences as varied as promoting cultural awareness at the Consulate General of France in Los Angeles, teaching financial literacy to clients of the Massachusetts Office for Refugees and Immigrants, coordinating volunteers for a domestic violence shelter, and canvassing for the presidential campaign of former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.
“As an undergraduate, I never thought about international relations in the context of space,” said Soucy, who currently works at the Los Angeles Air Force Base, also known as the headquarters of Space Systems Command (SSC), in El Segundo, California. “This role opened my eyes to the future of the international relations field, which will continue to expand into the space domain.”
According to Andrew Leahy, director of career development at the college’s Career Development Center, Soucy’s approach to exploring her career is exactly what the center’s team hopes to inspire in all Stonehill students.
“Kennedy’s outcome is so interesting,” he said. “She clearly had the confidence to just go for it. That’s what we encourage all of our students to do. We want them to take risks. They shouldn’t be afraid of hearing ‘no.’ Because it isn’t a ‘no’ forever. It’s just a ‘not right now.’”
“You don’t always need to have a clear path for your career,” she said. “It’s good to test things out. Your first job isn’t going to be your only job. Don’t be afraid to explore.”
Outside the office, Soucy is continuing her education, pursuing a dual master’s degree in international relations and business at American University, an opportunity offered by the PALACE Acquire program. She also recently married fellow Stonehill alum Conor Soucy ’19, a full-time filmmaker in Los Angeles, California.
Anwar Mhajne, Ph.D., assistant professor of political science at Stonehill, taught Soucy in a number of political science courses.
“I’m impressed [by] where Kennedy ended up, but not surprised,” said Mhajne, who has hosted Soucy for discussions about her career path with the professor’s current students. “She worked hard in her courses, built relationships with her professors and took advantage of every resource available to her. She’s persistent and determined, but [she is also] kind and humble. She exemplifies everything you’d want to see in a Stonehill student.”