Originally from Los Angeles, Captain Yvonne Sanchez is the first generation of her family to grow up in the U.S. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, with a Bachelors in Theoretical Mathematics, and is currently in the Computer Science Master’s program at NPS with an interest in pursuing the Artificial Intelligence specialization. She is also working with command at the Pentagon to focus her research efforts on a modeling project that could help the Marine Corps save money by no longer needing contract support in that area.
When I arrived at NPS, the COVID pandemic was already in full swing. My biggest highlight is the camaraderie I have developed with my cohort – we’ve really come together as a cohort and have built a supportive community during this time of Distance Learning regardless of never seeing each other in person. Another highlight is having participated in the Warfare Innovation Continuum event last September, where we got to learn from a diverse panel about innovative concepts and applied design thinking principles to tackle our focus problem. The newest highlight is establishing a group called Women in Computing (WIC) at NPS with the help of Dr. Elizabeth Gooch. There are far fewer women who join the military, become military officers, and also come to NPS: We wanted to create this supportive community aiming to positively impact women now and into the future.
I initially decided to join the Marine Corps because I wanted to do things most people were not willing to do and would also allow me to set myself up for success, as well as for my family in the future. I knew the military was full of opportunities where I could develop my leadership, communication, and problem-solving skills, and I would be able to take those skills with me wherever I went. I also wanted to be able to serve others at the highest level, and I knew I would have the opportunity to impact Marines’ lives directly and help them achieve their goals.
The most significant moment in my military career was being able to participate and win 1st place at the Marine Corps’ first Hybrid Logistics Symposium held at the University of California, San Diego, in 2018. With only 100 Marines in attendance, we got to learn about innovative technologies and active research meant to improve our ability to operate in tomorrow’s battlefield. We got to work with some of the brightest minds in the Marine Corps and pitch our ideas for how we can move forward as an organization.
My other significant moments have been the different exercises and missions I’ve been able to complete. As the Logistics Officer for a high-operational tempo unit, I had the opportunity to serve in a myriad of roles for planning, security, readiness, motor transport, and overall logistics support. To say it was complex is an understatement, but my Marines set the example and accomplished the mission every time. I’ve also had the opportunity to learn from and personally receive mentorship from great leaders who inspired me to think outside the box and pursue innovative solutions.
After receiving my master's in computer science here at NPS, I will have the privilege to work at the Pentagon. My first aspiration is to work on big picture projects that aid in the improvement of operations at the squadron/battalion level. My second aspiration is currently in the works. While I am still a student, I am developing an educational framework that can improve the culture for women in the Marine Corps. The intent is to implement this in the Marine Corps educational system because I firmly believe that improving the culture for women will directly improve the lives of all Marines in the service.