Faces: Then & Now

NPS Foundation Community 

Army Maj. Domonique Hittner on the importance of education within the Department of Defense. Specifically within science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. Hittner is a current PhD candidate at the Naval Postgraduate School within the Modeling Virtual Environments and Simulation (MOVES) Institute. Watch the Video.

As the Naval Postgraduate School Foundation celebrates our 50th year of support to the Naval Postgraduate School, our anniversary campaign will celebrate the rich history of NPS and our Foundation while highlighting current projects and looking toward the future of the school.

Founded at the request of former NPS Superintendent Rear Adm. Robert McNitt, NPSF exists to equip NPS to deliver the leaders, technologies, and ideas that our Nation needs. For decades, the Foundation has administered private donations to NPS to support cutting-edge facilities, civilian-military collaboration, innovative research addressing global challenges, and other initiatives to elevate the educational experience and quality of life for our Nation’s service members  

Enhancing student life remains a priority of the NPS Foundation. NPS offers a rare break from deployment for some of our nation’s brightest military service members. Many NPS students come to Monterey straight from overseas tours in combat areas, where they spent little to no time with their families. Because of your support, we are able to offer a variety of recreational clubs to help families take advantage of their time together and to help students enjoy time away from the high-stress, demanding duty of serving our country. Together, club members have hiked Mt. Whitney, biked 100+ miles to Paso Robles, volunteered at the AT&T Pro-Am Golf Tournament, run the Big Sur Marathon, given demonstrations at the Salinas Valley Comic Con, and much more.

The NPS Foundation currently supports 14 recreational clubs for NPS students and their families, faculty, and community members, including Chess, Cyber, Cycling, Flying, Golf, International, Makers, Outdoors, Running, Skydiving, Soccer, Vehicle, Wine, and the Yacht Club. 

Meet the NPS Students and Alumni who are Leading Foundation Clubs!

Maj. Thomas Hathaway
U.S. Marine Corps, MS in National Security Affairs '22

Maj. Tom Hathaway is a current student of the Department of National Security Affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School. Hathaway's area of study is curriculum 684: Regional Security Studies – Europe and Eurasia. Hathaway will graduate in June 2022 and become a Regional Affairs Officer for the Marine Corps at that time.

Hathaway recently took over as President of the NPS Foundation Cycling Club. Previously, he served as the Equipment Manager, enabling and encouraging club members and the NPS community to take advantage of the Bike Loaner Program.

The Cycling Club was the first recreational club formed at NPS. From your perspective, describe the community of the current club of students, family members, community members, and alumni? How do the relationships built within the Cycling club provide professional development or other networking opportunities outside of the club?

Aside from a couple of people I knew prior to coming to NPS, it was difficult to meet people due to the Zoom environment. Joining the Cycling Club was a great opportunity to meet other NPS students who are also into cycling and triathlon. The club was very inviting, and I was surprised to find out that it wasn't just NPS students. It was great to get out and ride with students from other programs, as well as professors, alumni, and members of the local community. We have a 100-mile Century Ride coming up this month and it will finish at a local restaurant where families will meet up with the riders and have a meal together. 

Another thing that I've noticed is the willingness of members to help each other out. Cycling and triathlon can get expensive pretty quickly, but a lot of our club members are willing to loan out their personal gear, even their bikes, to members looking to try something out before buying their own. We have a great sense of community within the club. On top of that, I have been able to meet a lot of different people from outside my cohort and that kind of exposure to officers from different branches and programs is valuable.

How has the NPS Foundation and NPS clubs affected your time at NPS and in Monterey?

I've met a lot of great people since joining the NPS Foundation and Cycling Club. The Club Rides were the events I looked forward to most during the week. I have learned a lot about the sport of cycling and triathlon from the other members and I have really enjoyed getting new members into both sports. Getting out on the Club rides and NPS Foundation events was a great way to break up the Zoom fatigue in my first few quarters here.  

What are your professional goals? How has your time at NPS affected those goals/your career trajectory?

My most immediate professional goal is the successful completion of my thesis. Following that, I'd like to make the most of my utilization tour and return to the Fleet with the experience and knowledge learned here at NPS. An enduring goal of mine is simply to uphold the high standards of a Marine Officer no matter where I go. At NPS, I am surrounded by high-caliber officers from each branch which drives me to work even harder.

What advice would you give to incoming Naval Postgraduate School students to help them get the most out of their time at NPS and in Monterey?

Start working on your thesis early! Take classes that interest you and do the reading, it is a worthwhile use of your time. Make the best of your time in Monterey and get outside, meet new people, and pursue your favorite hobbies outside of class. A great way to do that is through one of the clubs at the NPS Foundation.


Lt. Mitchell Kempisty
U.S. Navy, MS in Astronautical Engineering '21

A surface warfare officer and 2014 U.S. Naval Academy graduate, Lt. Mitchell Kempisty served on board the USS TRUXTUN (DDG-103) in Norfolk, Virginia, and then on board the USS MONSOON (PC-4) in Bahrain. He is presently working on his master’s degree in astronautical engineering in the Space Systems Engineering program at Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.

Kempisty is the current president of the NPS Foundation Yacht Club and will remain the President until February of 2022. 

"The NPSF Yacht Club is a valuable asset to the wellbeing and morale of NPS students, their families, and the military community in Monterey. It provides them the opportunity for a family-friendly activity of learning and enjoying the art of sailing, which is the foundation of Naval skill. The race team also increases the footprint of NPS and the military in the competitive sailing world, through competition with other yacht clubs around the country. It is vital to the military community in Monterey that the club continues to receive the support it needs to thrive for years to come."

Over the last 18 months, you’ve reinvigorated the NPS Yacht Club, including returning NPS teams to competitive sailing. Tell us a little bit about that process and why it was important to bring sailing to the NPS community?

About 2 years ago, some members of my cohort and I formed a team to race our Shields class sailboat “DeLaplaine” against other boats from the Monterey Peninsula Yacht Club. We had never sailed before, so we learned on the job. We bonded as a team throughout that initial season. I was disappointed that the NPS Yacht Club was not getting much support, only maintained by Ron Giachetti, a professor at NPS, who also raced with us and taught us the ropes. I enjoyed the club and the opportunities it could provide to students and families, so I decided to do something about it. The NPS Yacht Club is deeply rooted in the history of NPS and the NPS Foundation and needed to be revitalized as the premier club at NPS.

I took over as Commodore and was graciously assisted by Ron Giachetti as the training officer, Maj. David Richey as the treasurer, and Lt. Anthony Seda as the maintenance officer.  We have increased our activity, grown our fleet to 5 boats and developed a new website for our club that consolidates information, and simplifies rental scheduling and payments: NPSFyachtclub.com.

We now have hundreds of members, mostly active renters and racers. The rental boats are booked by members every weekend and typically during the week as well. We offer sailing classes to new members who want to learn how to sail. Classes are taught with a systematic curriculum by experienced members over the course of multiple weeks.

Managing this club takes a significant effort by the board members to manage the club memberships, schedule and teach classes, manage the racing team, coordinate with the NPS Foundation, and maintain the boats. This could not be done without the significant efforts of the full team of students and professors on the board. Replacement board members that will take over from us when we graduate have been selected and are working with us closely to ensure the continuation of efforts toward building a bigger and stronger Yacht Club for NPS.

The NPS Foundation’s first contribution to NPS came in the form of four sailboats, used to establish a sailing and seamanship program. What does the current fleet of the NPSF Yacht Club look like?

Over the last 18 months, we have increased our fleet from 2 to 5 boats: “DeLaplaine” and “Meritage” as our two shields race boats, and “Cloud 9,” “Iris,” and “Rocketman,” as our 3 rental boats for members. “Meritage” was donated to us by Jerry Stratton from the Monterey Peninsula Yacht Club in order to double our racing fleet. Maj. David Richey, Lt. Anthony Seda, Capt. Craig Miles and I acquired “Iris” with our own club funds and sailed it down the West coast from San Francisco for 31 hours through the night to increase the rental fleet for members. Furthermore, Lt. Anthony Seda and I acquired “Rocketman” in San Francisco with the use of our own club funds, and trailered it back to Monterey using my pickup truck. 

Tell us a little bit about the activities that the NPS Foundation Yacht Club has taken part in, both racing and recreational since you have been the Commodore.

We have competed in 2 seasons of Shields class racing against boats from Monterey Peninsula Yacht Club, we host dock socials for all members and prospective members to bring families together and offer the opportunity to learn about sailing and how to get involved with the club. We have another dock social scheduled for Dec. 4, 2021.

Most notably, NPS Yacht Club competed this year in the National Shields Class Regatta in Oxford, MD. This amazing experience was important because it increased awareness of NPS and relations with the sailing community around the country. Because of our appearance in the Regatta, we have solidified NPS’ presence at Nationals for years to come. NPS will be competing in Nationals again next year in Newport, RI. Lt. Anthony Seda and I will be racing with another team in Newport against NPS, so that should be very exciting.

How has your involvement with NPS Foundation and clubs enhanced your time at NPS?

Involvement with the NPS Yacht Club has given me the ability to give back to NPS and the NPS Foundation. The club offers military students and families the opportunity to learn and enjoy the skill of sailing as a great leisure activity no matter their skill level. We also invite and encourage members to race with us during the season to become part of a close-knit team and make friends along the way. I love being able to provide a fun outlet for members and an enjoyable experience through leisure and competition.

You invented and patented a durable nametag as a student at NPS, can you tell us a little bit about the impetus behind the idea and the process to have it patented?

I began the idea as a shower thought when I was stationed in Bahrain on USS MONSOON (PC-4) in order to fix the issue of disheveled nametags on our coveralls. On my off time at home, I bought a 3D printer on Amazon and got my own license for a CAD program, and began to learn how to use them to make the product. Once I had the first prototype, I realized that I should be able to patent it. My good friend who is now a lawyer, hooked me up with a patent lawyer to assist me in writing and submitting the patent application. Once this was complete, I began working with a manufacturer to mass-produce it, and “uGuard” was born. After an article about it was released by NPS and Navy Times, Vanguard Industries contacted me in order to license the product. The product was successfully licensed under Vanguard Industries and they now sell it as “The Enforcer.” They are an amazing company and we have a good relationship.

This process took 3 years from the shower thought to a patent and licensed product with Vanguard. It was a long journey with a lot of roadblocks along the way, but I powered through the doubts and unknowns. Now that I have gained the experience and confidence in the world of inventing and business, it has opened the door for me to take every small idea to the finish line. I hope I can serve as an inspiration to others to let them know that anyone can invent with a little bit of drive and heart.

What are your professional goals? How did your time at NPS affect those goals and your career trajectory?

My professional goals in the military are to continue thriving in the Surface Warfare community and one day become a Captain of a ship. When my time in the military comes to an end, I would like to work in the private space industry as an engineer. My program at NPS has given me the opportunity to make the dream of making a difference in the space community a reality in the next chapter of my life, and I am thankful for the opportunity it has provided me for my future.

Contact the NPS Foundation Yacht Club for Sailing Classes and/or Rentals: 


Capt. Thomas Stanley
U.S. Army, MS in Defense Analysis '22

Capt. Thomas Stanley is the current president of the NPS Foundation Skydiving Club. He commissioned into the U.S. Army in 2011 as an Infantry officer through the Michigan State University ROTC program, where he also received a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology with a minor in Russian language studies. During his career he has served at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Fort Bragg, and Fort Carson. Stanley has held a variety of leadership positions to include platoon leader, executive officer, and detachment commander in addition to battalion and brigade staff positions. He has deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, and Operation Atlantic Resolve. In addition to his many campaign medals and tabs, Stanley also earned the Basic Parachutist Badge, the Military Free-Fall Parachutist Badge, and the Israeli Military Free-Fall Parachutist Badge.

How did you first get into skydiving? How did you first hear about the skydiving club at NPS? What is the most exciting thing you have done with the skydiving club so far?

I first started skydiving at a drop zone out in Washington when I was stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. I first heard about the club through a buddy of mine before I even moved out to Monterey. He was in the Cycling club and told me that there was a Skydiving Club, so I signed up for the NPS Foundation and the club that afternoon.

We had the All Veteran’s Group out here a few weeks ago to tandem in with some of the supporters of the NPS Foundation. Getting to jump with those folks was really fun and getting to see them do their demo jump into the clubhouse at Monterey Peninsula Country Club was even more fun.


The All Veterans Group kicked off the NPS Foundation's 2021 America's Heroes Charity Golf Tournament


How has your involvement NPS Foundation and NPS clubs enhanced your time at NPS and in Monterey?

The Foundation and the Skydiving Club, like all of the clubs, has been a great mechanism and provided a lot of opportunities to meet people who have similar interests. The skydiving community is small and the folks that are in the club now will absolutely run into each other again down the road.

What are your professional goals? How did your time at NPS affect those goals/your career trajectory?

I’m planning to head back to my unit to serve as a company commander once my time here at NPS is complete. NPS is a renowned institution that, in a conversation with former graduate LTC Brian Decker, “NPS has done more to shape how the SOF community thinks than anything, aside from operational experience.” I know that NPS will help me accomplish my goals.


Lt. Cmdr. Rachel Carter
U.S. Navy, MA in Security Studies '21

Lt. Cmdr. Rachel Carter graduated from the Naval Postgraduate School in September 2021 with a Masters of National Security Affairs in Middle Eastern Security Studies, and during her time as a student, she was also president of the NPS Foundation Wine Club. She commissioned into the U.S. Navy in 2011 as an Intelligence Officer through the United States Naval Academy. During her career she has served at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Kelley Barracks in Stuttgart-Möhringen, Germany, MacDill Air Force Base, and the Pentagon. Carter has held a variety of leadership positions to include aviation intelligence officer, executive officer, strategic plans officer, and intelligence operations department head in delivery of timely strategic and operationally relevant joint intelligence. Her personal awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, as well as various unit and service awards. She is married to Brandon Carter of Jacksonville, Florida. They have three children — Dalton, Ivey and Olivia.

"My involvement with the NPS Foundation and clubs gave me an opportunity for impact, outside of solely focusing on schoolwork. It more importantly allowed me to give back, in a small way, to the organization and people that brightened my family's time in Monterey, especially during a global pandemic."

You took over the wine club mid-pandemic. What was it like trying to create and grow a community for students, family members and community members during that time?

Fortunately, the Wine Club weathered through the pandemic exceptionally well. I inherited a strong leadership team that had already built a COVID-friendly infrastructure for members to gather together virtually, speak with local wine makers, and enjoy wine from the comfort of their home. However, transitioning from virtual events back to in-person events required a lot of flexibility and creativity from both our Wine Club members and the leadership team. As local and military COVID-related restrictions were in flux, our primary objective was to foster a healthy atmosphere for our members to safely gather together. We held both virtual and outdoor events with limited numbers of attendees, encouraged vaccinations, social distancing and masks, but we also respected individual circumstance and choice.

We had local wineries delivering wine to our club members homes ahead of virtual events, increased our technological ingenuity, ordered hand sanitizer in bulk, and did a lot of cold-calling or simply showing up to outdoor venues as we transitioned back to in-person events. Our leadership team and members were eager to gather in person, all the while local installations and venues were still working through their evolving COVID protocols. The Foundation, NPS and Naval Station Monterey staff, as well as local wineries, were receptive to the Wine Club's vision and to our prioritization of the health and safety of attendees. Their overwhelming support culminated in our first in-person event at Cowgirl Winery in May of this year.

How do you think the pandemic and club member efforts during the pandemic impacted the wine club in the long run?

Our Wine Club members were incredibly patient and enthusiastically supported the various types of events that we held. Our membership grew to over 200 people during the pandemic, and our events sold out in under 15 minutes. The determination and creativity of the Wine Club leadership team and our members during the pandemic set an exemplar for a strong community of good people that enjoy good wine.

Why was it important to get involved in clubs during your time at NPS?

While we were all limited to a virtual learning environment, connecting with the Wine Club allowed me to interact with a larger and more diverse representation of NPS. The Wine Club was warm and welcoming, so I expressed interest in joining the leadership team. I imagined I would assume a more modest role on the team when I signed up, but their outlook was to strongly work together and fill positions as they became available. Ironically, I became the President of the Wine Club and arguably knew the least about wine out of anyone on the team. Fortunately, my teammates quickly pulled me into the fantastic dynamic they had created and we pushed forward. 

What are some of the most significant moments in your military career thus far?

I mean it with the utmost sincerity when I say that my family and I love being in the Navy. Every single one of my tours feels significant, but for completely different reasons. Most often, significance resulted from the incredible people I worked with along the way, impact to challenging problem sets, leadership opportunities, and even hard lessons that resulted in growth. However, my proudest moments have always been when I had an opportunity to leave an organization better than I found it by getting the right people together (with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and resources) to tackle problem sets as a team. The Wine Club is undoubtedly one of those organizations. The new leadership team is incredible, and I cannot wait to see their vision play out over the next year.

What are your professional goals? How did your time at NPS affect those goals/your career trajectory?

I recently laterally transferred from the Navy Information Warfare Community to the Foreign Area Officer (FAO) Community, with a focus on the Middle East. NPS was the first step in my training pipeline towards fully qualifying as a Middle East FAO. I am now learning Arabic at the Defense Language Institute here in Monterey before my family and I are detailed to our next adventure abroad. My time at NPS sparked an extraordinary enthusiasm for what lies ahead in my family's Navy career, and is a direct reflection of the caliber of the NPS curriculum, as well as the faculty, staff and colleagues that I met along the way.


Join and Learn More about NPS Foundation Clubs Here!




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Physical Address: 283 Cottage Way Monterey, CA 93943 - Mailing Address: PO Box 8626 Monterey, CA 93943

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