Skip to Content
Alumni profile

Kelly (Hogan) Shannon ’02

From test tubes to tactical ops
August 21, 2019
Kelly (Hogan) Shannon ’02
Kelly (Hogan) Shannon ’02
Kelly (Hogan) Shannon ’02Courtesy of the FBI

Kelly (Hogan) Shannon ’02 has always loved investigating. It’s what drew her to MIT to study biology. It’s also what led to her career as a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

At MIT, where she majored in Course 7, Shannon’s pursuit of science included research in genetics at the Whitehead Institute. Simultaneously, she participated in the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC), which provided her with a scholarship to attend the Institute. After graduation, Shannon envisioned a career in scientific research or medicine, but first she had to complete a four-year term in the Navy in return for her NROTC scholarship. And that’s when her career path took a turn.

“I was thrown into a role as a leader almost immediately,” Shannon says of her experience as an officer on Navy destroyers. “At 22 years old, I was now responsible for managing and leading 20 sailors at various stages in their careers.”

As a commissioned naval officer, Shannon was deployed to the Middle East: she and her team would board ships coming out of Afghanistan and Iraq in search of smuggled oil and other contraband. That experience got her thinking about an ancillary interest she’d always had in law enforcement. With a science background and tactical operations training, Shannon learned she was the type of candidate the FBI was looking for. Her understanding of the scientific community and research, it turns out, has been an asset in building connections with the research facilities and labs FBI agents often work with during investigations.

As an FBI agent for more than a decade, Shannon has been part of teams focused on criminal investigations, counterterrorism, and response to threats of mass violence and bombings. She has worked on data collection and analysis, conducted searches and arrests, and prepared for trials. Shannon has also traveled overseas many times to investigate bombings and terrorism, and also to support other countries’ capacity to respond effectively. “Giving countries the tools to build their own response was really fulfilling,” she says.

Shannon recently moved into a supervisory role in which she oversees agents conducting both preventive and reactive investigations. She says that work with the FBI is anything but a nine-to-five job, but that MIT helped prepare her for that. “So many of my favorite times in my career have been when I was in the thick of it with amazing people—it was the same thing at MIT,” she says.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

conceptual illustration of a heart with an arrow going in on one side and a cursor coming out on the other
conceptual illustration of a heart with an arrow going in on one side and a cursor coming out on the other

Forget dating apps: Here’s how the net’s newest matchmakers help you find love

Fed up with apps, people looking for romance are finding inspiration on Twitter, TikTok—and even email newsletters.

digital twins concept
digital twins concept

How AI could solve supply chain shortages and save Christmas

Just-in-time shipping is dead. Long live supply chains stress-tested with AI digital twins.

still from Embodied Intelligence video
still from Embodied Intelligence video

These weird virtual creatures evolve their bodies to solve problems

They show how intelligence and body plans are closely linked—and could unlock AI for robots.

computation concept
computation concept

How AI is reinventing what computers are

Three key ways artificial intelligence is changing what it means to compute.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.