Letters to My Younger Self (LTMYS)

How Systems Engineering Changed My Life

Are you thinking about what the future will be like? “What should I be when I grow up?” is a question we can ask ourselves at any age! While the path may wind and many adventures await along the way, systems engineering is one field that is open to those from many different disciplines including science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). This eBook is a compendium of letters from around the world, written from system engineers in the field to their younger selves, to give a glimpse into the life they have lived and the insights they have gained along the way. Please enjoy this diverse set of perspectives as to what it is like to be a systems engineer!



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SPEC Innovations, who have sponsored Letters to My Younger Self stated As a Women-Owned Business, SPEC Innovations has made it its mission to encourage women to thrive in stem and leadership roles since 1993. SPEC Innovations is a leader in systems engineering services and software and is dedicated to investing in the future of women in systems engineering. We hope 'Letters to My Younger Self' encourages a new generation of women to come forward.”

Our Editors


Alice Squires’ love of systems, long-term view, and desire to make a difference drove her to experience challenging roles in industry and academia. She earned degrees in Electrical Engineering, Business Administration and Systems Engineering; worked on satellite payloads and semiconductors and unmanned aerial systems; and taught graduate courses in systems engineering, project management, leadership, performance management and systems architecture. She is an INCOSE certified Expert Systems Engineering Practitioner and founded a group that advocates for women leaders in systems engineering. She loves to write and seeks to make a difference in the world.


Lisa is a wife and best friend to her husband, Jason, and mother and best friend to her sweet son, Logan.  Lisa is a trained biochemist, earning her PhD from the University of Pittsburgh (home city!). A life-long systems thinker, and serial entrepreneur, with INCOSE, Lisa found instant connection and an organization she will serve for life. Lisa’s life is fulfilled by spending time with Jason, Logan and their boxer, Rasputin, in grand and serene West Lafayette, IN. She enjoys helping clients or employers in the STEM spaces make a difference in the world through one of her many companies.


David Long is an accidental entrepreneur. After studying engineering at Virginia Tech, he combined his passion for systems engineering with his programming hobby to develop one of the earliest model-based systems engineering tools. From there, he founded a systems engineering company. David is a Fellow and former president of the International Council on Systems Engineering. He continues to work around the world raising systems awareness and helpings others build cool stuff ranging from coffee makers to medical devices to spacecraft and even better companies.

"No matter where you are in your life or career there will be a topic in a letter that you will relate to. This simply translates to “you are not alone”, others have had similar experiences. These letters share those pivotal moments of each author, whether it relates to overcoming obstacles, working with talented colleagues, finding that mentor, celebrating achievements, recognising what a career in systems engineering meant, to name just a few. If you are uncertain in what you are doing, or feeling isolated or vulnerable in your current working life, just pause and read one of these letters. I guarantee you will be re-energised."


- Kerry Lunney, INCOSE President 2020-2021

Coming Soon!

Interview with some of our Authors!


Press Release

SAN DIEGO (19 October 2022) – The International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE) is pleased to announce the publication of the eBook Letters to My Younger Self: How Systems Engineering Changed My Life. This publication is a compendium of letters from around the world, written from system engineers in the field to their younger selves, to give a glimpse into the life they have lived and the insights they have gained along the way.  

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