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Computer Science Class of '91

An interview with the alumni of CS 01-368 during their 32nd Reunion at NPS

Capt. Gard Clark, US Navy (Ret.)

Capt. Dawn Maskell, US Navy (Ret.)

Lt. Col. Rosemary (Stewart) O'Hara, US Army (Ret.)

Capt. Süleyman Bayramoğlu, Turkish Navy (Ret.)

Lt. Cmdr. Lelon Ginn, US Navy (Ret.)

Maj. Charles Peabody, US Marine Corps (Ret.)

Maj. Alexander Korzyk, PhD, US Army (Ret.)

"The connections and close relationships that we built at NPS and after are invaluable in terms of opening doors and advancing careers." - Capt. Süleyman Bayramoğlu, Turkish Navy (Ret.)

How did the education and research opportunities at NPS impact your career?

Clark: It provided opportunity to build professional relationships based on our common technical background that were beneficial even within my relatively small submarine officer community. I used the technical part of the education as a Navy Major Program Manager while in the Navy on acquisition of computer controlled systems and later in a general way as a senior VP at Teledyne Brown Engineering during a 10-year civilian career. My thesis advisor providing the opportunity to work on my thesis at Los Alamos National Laboratory was important in my post active duty National Nuclear Security Administration and Commercial Nuclear Reactor Development work.

Maskell: After NPS, I entered the communications field in the Navy. My education at NPS gave me the foundation for understanding how communications should update.

O'Hara: I immediately went to my "payback" job at Fort Bragg, NC, in the 5th Signal Brigade and then the 18th Airborne Corps' Corps Automation Management Office where I used my education. Computer Science is an evolving field and applying the building blocks to our operational forces was very exciting. My final position in the service was as the Director of the Computer Science School at Fort Gordon, Georgia. My staff and I were instrumental in partnering with CISCO and providing commercial certifications to meet the needs of the Army and invest in service personnel's education and critical thinking skills.

Bayramoğlu: Overall, the education and research opportunities at NPS impacted significantly on my career trajectory in the Turkish Navy, and after in industry. I employed the educational background and the skills as well as knowledge and networking I gained. The impact was rather significant for our professional and even personal life.

Ginn: I came from a nuclear engineering background. Although I did not ever do a "payback tour," the computer science education gave me a completely different way of understanding problems and approaching solutions. In my post-Navy career, my education at NPS contributed directly to my work in project management.

Peabody: My NPS experience impacted my career from my initial payback tour in the Marine Corps, throughout my follow-on tours and then into my post-MC positions. In the Marines, I was able to apply my education through advancing computer simulations and leading their application for training, analysis, research and acquisition. The results set the stage for where the Marine Corps is today in the use of simulations and where they are headed in the foreseeable future. I was also able to apply the education in helping the Marine Corps procure and apply new command and control systems during the OIF/OEF period. After my Marine Corps career, I was able to apply the education in helping the Army acquire and apply simulations and C2 systems. Eventually, I applied this education to building simulation systems and C2 systems as a senior program manager and chief engineer in industry. The accumulated experience then led to a research faculty position at the University of Central Florida and into my current position as the owner of a small business focused on science and technology in the areas of modeling, simulation and artificial intelligence.

Korzyk: It prepared me to advance academically to doctorate studies in computer and information science using my thesis for publishing research. I worked with the Department of Energy, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and IBM to develop the first successful transmission of jpg files and mpg files for military use immediately. This was developed into an IEEE standard used by everyone.

How did the relationships you built across services and across international lines serve you throughout your military career?

Clark: It provided background and perspective for many interactions with allied naval officers, especially in the EUCOM and NATO theaters.

Maskell: Human relationships are everything. Relationship building helps solve problems and makes operational execution go smoother.

O'Hara: Relationships are important. I served overseas in Korea and Germany, and worked with and for allied service members. Working with and attending classes with our allies develops great bonds. It is enriching to learn about them, their forces, their countries and to build our relationships.

Bayramoğlu: The connections and close relationships that we built at NPS and after are invaluable in terms of opening doors and advancing careers. Since I've been working mostly in defense industry after retiring from the Turkish Navy, those relations contributed a lot in terms of networking for business development.

Ginn: The submarine community is fairly cloistered, so my exposure not just to other services and international students, but even other communities in the Navy, gave me a great appreciation of how we fit into the bigger picture within our own defense structure as well as with our allies.

Peabody: It was great at NPS to expand my awareness and relationships with other service members and international military members. The awareness of cultures, terminology, and ways of viewing the world became useful in several follow-on roles. I was fortunate to serve in a role with the Navy (N6, Pacific Fleet), the joint community (J6, PACOM), and in combined operations with nations of some of my classmates.

Korzyk: The research done with my classmates on weapons system cybersecurity enabled the publication of several conference papers. [Later in my career, I] used defense contractors that classmates recommended from their own experience developing software for weapons systems, information systems and decision support systems.

Why is it important to reconnect or stay connected to your classmates, alumni network, professors and the institution as a whole after leaving NPS?

Clark: It is not only great maintaining the connections while still in the service, but also after reentering civilian life and working in the business world. I also took part in one student's NPS research about 20 years after graduation.

O'Hara: Human connections always assist in managing and fostering trust. A specific baseline of understanding from fellow alumni can further collaborative development in our fields.

Bayramoğlu: Staying connected after leaving NPS can provide numerous benefits that enhance our professional and personal lives. A few reasons:

  • sense of community and belonging for sharing values, experiences, and interests and build meaningful relationships that can last a lifetime.
  • lifelong learning, staying connected to NPS: I continue to learn and stay up to date with the latest developments in relevant fields.
  • staying connected with classmates, alumni network can open up opportunities for further networking for those who are still in professional working environments. This also can provide valuable referrals that can help in that course.
  • It can provide also some opportunities to give back to NPS that really helped and impacted my professional career and personal life. I, even as a foreign national, can volunteer my time, expertise and experience to support and help future generations of students and continue NPS' legacy.

Ginn: After I left NPS, I went back to that cloistered submarine environment and lost contact with most of my non-submariner clasmates. This reunion has shown me how much I lost out by not staying in touch.

Peabody: The network of relations are critical to keep alive. Some of the research and work efforts through the years have had links to ongoing efforts of some of my NPS classmates and NPS faculty. Even now, my science and technology research has connections I'm leveraging that stem from my NPS days.

Korzyk: To support each other with knowledge gained from NPS as a common ground foundation; To provide the Navy with unlimited access to the most educated military officers in the world for warfare that supports the military industrial complex; and to give advice and counsel to NPS leadership to go the right direction in the next decade.

What did you find most valuable or interesting during your recent visit to NPS?

Clark: Reestablishing and renewing friendships with classmates, and understanding the current direction of the institution regarding applied research.

Maskell: The relationships and seeing friends.

O'Hara: My most valuable observation is the pursuit of excellence and how may we strive to do better with our limited resources in our military branches. The President and Provost's vision and execution of the strategic vision is both aggressive and implementable!

Bayramoğlu: I found myself very happy to be back and getting together with my classmates 32 years after graduation. It was really nice to catch up with everyone, hear about each other's successes and stories, and simply enjoy each other's company again. It was like yesterday after a couple of hours. I was also really impressed by the NPS Foundation's support of the reunion and President Ann Rondeau's kind hospitality. I will definitely stay connected with the NPS Foundation & Alumni Association. Many thanks again to NPSF, International Programs Office and the NPS President.

Ginn: I enjoyed finding out how the mission of the school has remained constant while at the same time staying relevant.

Peabody: It was great to come back to the school and rekindle memories in the context of today's NPS environment. It was quite interesting to hear from the current NPS President and Academic Provost on ways the institution is continuing to impact the defense of our nation. It was encouraging in meeting with students, faculty and staff to know that my school continues to make an important difference in the world. I would encourage all NPS students to support the NPS Foundation & Alumni Association.

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