UWF degree and year of graduation:
BS Computer Science, ’96
As you look back at your days at UWF, describe your best memory.
My best memory of UWF is my interaction with a former faculty member, Frank Anger. Dr. Anger had a very unique, calm and down-to-earth teaching style that grabbed the attention of the diverse set of students. One of the evening classes that he taught was “Analysis of Algorithms,” which was held clear across campus, the farthest you could get from the computer science building. On the first day of class, Dr. Anger realized that he had not made enough copies of the course outline to hand out to all students and explained that he would get more copies during the break. In the interest of saving classroom time, I offered to drive him to the computer science building as it was a 10-minute walk each way. As we approached the computer science parking lot, he smiled, looked at me and asked “Are you going to take the greedy-sort approach (meaning take the first parking spot available) or risk wasting gas and time (CPU cycles) to look for a better parking spot?” By the time we got back to class, he had given me a high-level overview of all the sorting techniques which he was going to cover in class for the semester just by using a parking lot as a real-world example. That was Dr. Anger for you – never missing a teaching opportunity.
While you were at UWF, what did you think was its most outstanding and/or unique quality?
The student-to-instructor ratio was amazingly low, which allowed the students to have easier access and more face-time with the instructors which led to a higher quality of education. The instructors were genuinely interested in the progress of the students’ education and were not hesitant to follow the students in the (then called) software engineering lab to help debug code – very hands-on approach.
As you reflect, did your education at UWF have an impact on where you are today? If so, how?
UWF had an incredible impact on my career. It gave me the education of a “large” school in a “small school” setting. The open communication with the faculty from all departments helped me better define my likes and dislikes and helped identify my weaknesses in an un-embarrassing way. I felt that I belonged somewhere and was just not a number, which was a big boost to my self-worth as I scouted for my first job.
Describe what you do/did professionally including the type of company you work for.
I work as an IT director for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Engineer Research and Development Center in Vicksburg, Miss. The staff in my organization includes 100-plus engineers and scientists, and we build business applications for the Department of Defense to support war fighters and civil works.
What advice would you give students today who were looking at studying one of the disciplines in the School of Science and Engineering?
Keep those grades up and pay attention to the core-classes of math and computer science. They are the foundation for what you will learn and apply in the future. It is better in the long run to actually understand the concepts and get a B rather than “studying the test” and getting an A.
Last, would you share one thing about yourself that would give others insight into your interests, hobbies, etc.
One of the hobbies that I took-up after graduation was flying. I am a private pilot and can often be found in the friendly skies buzzing around in a Cessna 172 or 182. Hey, there is no speed limit up there.