Madeleine "Mac" Gagné


Washington, D.C.

Academic Interests

Operations research, applied mathematics, systems engineering, decision science, game theory, emergency management, security studies, anthropology, linear programming, dynamic programming, information networks/systems, software development, stochastics & probability, creative writing, and the performing arts.

Fun Fact

My nickname, “Mac”, is short for my middle name, McDonald! It’s a Scottish abbreviation inspired by my grandfather.

Hello everyone! My name is Mac Gagné and it’s such a pleasure to meet you. As a SPIRE alumna, I was a part of the 2021 graduating class and received a Bachelor’s of Science in Mathematically Applied Strategy with High Distinction. My major was a curriculum I built myself through Duke’s Program II department which followed many of the math major requirements while also adding in courses from psychology, political science, and evolutionary anthropology. This allowed me to intensively study the disciplines of game theory, operations research, and decision science during my four years at the University under the advisement of Dr. Hubert Bray. During my time at Duke, I interned with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (2018 & 2019), The National Weather Service (2020) and became a Brooke Owens Fellow in 2021 working at Northrop Grumman. These opportunities allowed me to explore the vast applications of my work and help me decide on a career path. At University, I was also a member of the American Grand Strategy program, A founder/president/co-president/voice actor/writer for Freshly Squeezed Pulp, and the founder/inaugural president of The Lyceum, Duke’s first interdisciplinary and diversity-centric mathematics club.

In 2021, I decided to continue my academic journey and was accepted as a PhD student to North Carolina State University Engineering’s Operations Research department studying emergency operations, logistics engineering, linear programming and narrative theory. I’m also a budding author, and remain very invested in studying, diversifying, and revitalizing the many genres of pulp fiction.

To learn more about my work, research, future endeavors, aspirations and journey to become an emergency operations researcher and author, you can check out my website: Should you think I can be of help in any manner at all, please don’t hesitate to reach out and connect. I’d love to hear from you.

What do you like about being a SPIRE Fellow?

Primarily, I love how SPIRE works to create a community of so many diverse thinkers! SPIRE members come from many different walks of life, and we all have our own takes on the world- I love being around so many people that are confident and vocal about what they see in life and how they want to make the world a better place. Furthermore, SPIRE helps us students find and fund summer opportunities, so we don't miss great internships and life experiences. As a lower income student, I would not be able to participate in internships like I have without SPIRE's amazing support. Additionally, our advisors and mentors are PHENOMENAL! I would feel so lost at Duke if I wasn't able to bombard my advisors and mentors with tons of questions. SPIRE furthermore helps students get connected to other faculty members. Finally, SPIRE gives us students chances to get involved in diversity movements on a global perspective. During the spring of my Freshman year, I was able to attend a diversity in STEM conference that really opened up my mind to a whole host of issues plaguing the education community. Now that I can see these issues of inequality going on in real time, I have a much better chance at doing something to halt them.

Madeleine "Mac" Gagné
Madeleine "Mac" Gagné