UWF degree and year of graduation:
BS Business, ’86
MS Software Engineering, ’93
MA Accountancy ’03
As you look back at your days at UWF, describe your best memory.
My “look back” really is to give an example of how far we’ve come since the 1980s! In those days UWF offered bachelor degrees at Eglin Air Force Base and the “Fort Walton Beach Center.” I worked in Fort Walton Beach (lived in Niceville), so these two locations were my “UWF campuses.” The computer lab at the Eglin site was located in a relatively small room where a row of computer terminals linked to a mainframe on the main campus stretched along each side wall. Each computer was linked to one large printer on the back wall – next to the door into Mr. Neale’s office. Mr. Neale sometimes provided “tech support” – since the student “Debuggers” only worked during the evening hours. The challenge of getting programming assignments typed in, “sent” for compilation, receiving, correcting and re-sending corrections for any errors was often frustrating and time-consuming. As the end of the semester approached, it became more so as the “return time” from the mainframe stretched into multiple hours, while time limitations were placed on terminal usage to give fair access to all students. Many times I typed in my “fixes” to the errors I’d picked up the day before, signed off the system and went home to study because I knew it would be a long time before I could log-on again to see if my program had finished and see if there were more errors to correct.
While you were at UWF, what did you think was its most outstanding and/or unique quality?
I enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere that comes with a smaller school. The instructors, professors and administrative personnel were always friendly and seemed to genuinely care about the students and their concerns. I spent many years attending classes at a state university before moving here, so I really appreciate the difference.
As you reflect, did your education at UWF have an impact on where you are today?
In my case, my master’s in software engineering earned my interview with the company I’ve worked for since June 1993. Since I had no programming in my work history, the master’s in software engineering was required for me to qualify for employment. Once hired, I found that my courses at UWF put me way ahead when my employer began its quest for process improvement - as defined by the Software Engineering Institute (SEI). My education enabled me to fully participate in these efforts over the years and earn recognition for my contributions in that area.
Describe what you do/did professionally including the type of company you work for.
I was hooked on software development from the first programming language course I had at UWF so I was determined to do that type of work. Since June 1993, I have worked for a defense contractor: first as a software developer, then as the manager of my software development team. I am now involved with system/software quality assurance. I’m still working with software development, but now concentrate on the quality of that software development. Many of the software/software engineering courses I had at UWF in the early ’90s have served me well both with day-to-day assignments and with my service in the corporate Engineering Process Group.
What advice would you give students today who were looking at studying one of the disciplines in the School of Science and Engineering?
I would say to consider what you enjoy doing and try to select a field of study that will allow you to have a career that you enjoy. Don’t be afraid to make a change if you find out your initial choice isn’t as satisfying as you thought it would be.
Last, would you share one thing about yourself that would give others insight into your interests, hobbies, etc.
I volunteer for things that support my professional interests. I am a board member of a newly formed chapter of the Project Management Institute, Emerald Coast Florida Chapter. I write book reviews for IEEE Software Magazine. I also find time to do some “recreational reading” to do creative things such as crochet.