Madison Moss


Sioux City, Iowa

The Story

In high school, Moss had always thought he wanted to do mechanical engineering. But after a year of studying it in college, he began to realize it wasn’t quite the right fit. So he switched over to computer science, graduating with his B.A. in 2015.

For Moss, attending Dordt College ended up being a great decision. “I really enjoyed the sense of tight-knit community at Dordt,” Moss says. “It was so good to be able to get the education I received, within a Christian environment.” Besides the rigorous education, one of Moss’ favorite memories of college is playing on the Dordt golf team.

Today, Moss works at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland – right between Baltimore and Washington D.C. APL is a federal contractor that takes on some of the government's most difficult problems. They work on everything from satellites for NASA to some of the world’s most advanced prosthetics, among many other projects.

“I never expected to be where I am coming out of Dordt,” Moss says. “It goes to show that you don’t need to go to a big university to end up somewhere like this.”

Moss works for the lab as a Splunk Architect. Splunk is a big data platform that pulls in machine logs and creates the ability to search and run analytics on them. For instance, if someone were to use their badge to scan into a door, log into their computer, and start browsing the Internet, the platform would help tell the story of what had happened.

“Think of several hundred million pages of data generated every day. Where do you start looking at that? Splunk helps by analyzing internal data, taking it all into a central repository, and then making it searchable,” Moss explains. “It helps you understand what is going on in your environment.” Moss’ job is to administrate the software itself, pulling in data to analyze and giving other employees the ability to do searches and develop content.

What Moss loves most about his work is the challenge of diving into tough problems. At the lab, there is not much hand-holding. They provide employees with the resources to learn but expect them to work on their own to solve problems. For Moss, this is where Dordt prepared him well.

“We were named the #1 college for student engagement two years in a row,” says Moss. “I think one way that comes into play is the faculty’s ability to challenge students, to help them think critically and innovate. Our professors challenged us with concepts and taught us how to learn, rather than simply giving us answers. In my work in applied physics – a field that is always changing, where answers never remain static – it has been critical to be constantly learning. Looking back, I really appreciate learning this skill during my time at Dordt.”