Faculty Focus: Jen Braggin

Faculty Focus: Jen Braggin

How saying “Yes” to new opportunities and pursuing what you love shapes a profoundly purposeful leadership career.

Tufts Gordon Institute’s marketing team recently interviewed faculty member Jen Braggin about her leadership career, her love of teaching, and why she encourages her students to say “yes” to all challenges and opportunities.

“I am inspired by people who put their whole selves into a pursuit that they love,” shares Jen. “This includes my mom, who found a part-time job supporting AI research in retirement; my 8-year-old niece, who puts her all into creating imaginative books about her life; and my students, who find ways to simultaneously excel in academics and extracurricular pursuits.”

Jen is Senior Lecturer and a faculty member for the Tufts Gordon Institute and currently teaches EM54, an Engineering Leadership course, having previously taught courses in Engineering Management. Jen is a proud Jumbo, having graduated with an MS in Engineering Management from Tufts Gordon Institute, where she was the recipient of the Outstanding Student Award.

Jen spent most of her career working in the semiconductor industry in engineering, management, and technical marketing roles. Today she is the Director of Technology in the Office at Entegris, a global leader in advanced materials science. Outside of work, she is an active committee member and former chairperson of the Advanced Semiconductor Manufacturing Conference (ASMC), as well as other industry conferences, and her contribution to the semiconductor industry was recognized in 2021 when  she was honored with the inaugural SEMI Foundation Excellence in Achievement Award.

Her experiences as a senior leader in a dynamic technology business help inform and shape her teaching of engineering leadership. Jen is energized by seeing her students apply lessons from the classroom to advance their personal and professional career development. “My favorite experience of teaching,” she says, “is having students write to me over the summer to tell me that they are using what we learned to become authentic leaders. When a student tells me that my class helped them ask for feedback, or have a hard conversation, or positively influence someone else at work, I feel so happy to have helped them gain skills they find useful.” 

Leveraging what she sees as important in shaping her own career, Jen also encourages students to say yes to new challenges. “Early in my career I said yes to opportunities that no one else wanted to take on. They were very challenging and incredibly rewarding. If I hadn’t accepted challenging tasks, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to learn so much so quickly. This is a lesson I keep relearning. If at any point I feel stuck, I say yes to something that offers a new challenge.”

Jen also shares the benefits of viewing what may appear to be a setback as a challenge instead. “In my senior year of college, I faced a lot of hurdles. I was promised a research position for graduate school, but my funding was unexpectedly cut before I even started. I rushed to interview for any job that I could get, and the one that I finally chose laid me off one month before I was supposed to start. In both cases I had to choose new things to do with my future, but more importantly, I had to choose a new point of view. It turns out persevering through those setbacks put me on an interesting, wild ride that brought me to where I am today.”

When asked for a final piece of advice for students embarking on their own career journeys, Jen offered some words of wisdom, “The days are long, and the years are short. Working day-by-day can be draining and daunting, but also filled with small moments of excitement and joy. If you don’t take time each day to appreciate what you’ve done or relish in small moments, the years can fly by.”

Learn more about Engineering Management at Tufts Gordon Institute.