Kevin Gilligan lives in Washington, DC, where he serves as a management and program analyst for the Strategic Investments Division (SID) in the Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO) at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) headquarters. NASA's mission is to drive advances in science, technology, aeronautics, and space exploration to enhance knowledge, education, innovation, economic vitality, and stewardship of Earth. Gilligan began working for NASA in 2010 as part of the Presidential Management Fellowship program.
As a management and program analyst, Gilligan is responsible for tracking and conducting analysis on the planetary science portfolio of programs and projects. These include programs such as the Mars Exploration Program, New Frontiers Program, and the Discovery Program. The projects he is responsible for are the Mars Curiosity rover, the next Mars rover, OSIRIS-REx, and the upcoming mission to Europa.
Some of Gilligan's most notable accomplishments with NASA include his creation of a Microsoft Excel tool that was later used in NASA's executive council meeting to support the council's deliberations on agency budget decisions. As well as, his participation as the OCFO representative on a special committee to evaluate the Department of Energy's plutonium-238/radioisotope thermoelectric generator production capability.
Gilligan believes that he was able to have an incredible experience at Maxwell due to the unique structure of the MPA program. Gilligan states, “Beginning the 12-month program during the summer with an otherwise vacant campus, along with similar courses and schedules to your fellow classmates creates an atmosphere of camaraderie that easily fosters strong friendships. The faculty all demonstrate keen interest in student success, readily engaging students to sustain intellectual curiosity and pass on valuable insights and experiences.” He is grateful to have been a Syracuse University Graduate Scholar and a Maxwell Dean's Professional Scholar as the financial support provided for his studies and alleviated much of his financial concern, which in return allowed him to focus on his academics.
When asked if he had any advice for current Maxwell students, Gilligan offered the following: “Foster strong friendships with your fellow students. Create a network that will last far beyond the halls of Maxwell. Include your professors in this network. Tapping the minds of fellow students and professors becomes ever more important as you face the unexpected challenges throughout your career.” Gilligan urges students to be open-minded about their career paths. He is certain that their Maxwell degree will provide them with the tools they need to tackle endless responsibilities in the public sector.