Maddie Minneci ’18 learned a lot playing varsity softball at Bucknell. Not only did she gain skills she transferred to the workplace, such as discipline and communication, but the sport indirectly influenced her career path, as well.

Minneci is a research associate for the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA), a not-for-profit corporation providing objective analysis of national security issues and other challenges involving extraordinary scientific and technical expertise. Minneci helps research solutions for problems posed by sponsors, such as the U.S. Department of Defense and the Department of Health Affairs.

“I thought it was cool that IDA provides a chance for me to look at real-world national security issues right out of college,” Minneci says. “There are so many different projects that come in that you can get involved in — anything you can think of.”

One project especially resonated with Minneci — examining the curricula and financial allocations of U.S. medical schools and comparing that data with peer institutions. Her analysis could lead to more efficient organizational structures, an outcome that intrigues Minneci, an aspiring physician who studied neurodevelopmental disorders during an internship at Geisinger Medical Center.

But it was softball that landed Minneci at IDA. After hearing about a teammate’s internship at the Alexandria, Va.-based firm, Minneci applied for her full-time position last year after graduating with a degree in neuroscience.

“IDA recruits intelligent and talented people from all over the country,” Minneci says. “It’s been incredible to be surrounded by all of them and have the opportunity to meet various sponsors and Department of Defense employees. Being around people who bring so many things to the table is really an amazing experience.”