UWF degree and year of graduation:
BA Math, ’79
BS Systems Science, ’79
As you look back at your days at UWF, describe your best memory.
There was the time I was walking through the hall of Dorm 60 early in my first (junior) year. This cute guy, who I’d recently learned was named John, walked past and said, “Hi.” After he walked on a bit, I turned around and said, “John, have you picked up your ticket for Dracula?” He turned around and said, “Yes, it’s right here in my pocket.” That was the first time I ever spoke to the man who would become my husband. We celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary in June.
While you were at UWF, what did you think was its most outstanding and/or unique quality?
The professors actually taught undergraduate courses. I knew the staff of the math, systems science, physics, music and theater departments. Even more amazing—they knew me, too. This is probably because we had small class sizes. My biggest classes were 45 to 60 students, but most classes had far fewer. My partial differential equations class had only four students!
As you reflect, did your education at UWF have an impact on where you are today?
Well certainly, getting a degree in system science-scientific (equivalent to a computer science or computer engineering today) opened many doors. Most of the systems science grads back then were from the business option. I didn’t want to do business programming, so I took the scientific option, which meant I was able to work in a great deal of interesting areas, including satellite tracking and control, computer telephony and avionics. Being a well-paid engineer (and later manager), I was able to retire at age 50, which puts me where I am today.
Describe what you do/did professionally, including the type of company you worked for.
I spent most of my career as a defense contractor, working in the defense subsidiaries of large corporations. Initially, I was a software engineer. Then I obtained a master’s in business administration, became a system engineer and eventually a program manager.
What advice would you give students today who were looking to study one of the disciplines in the School of Science and Engineering?
Major in computer science or electrical engineering instead of math or physics unless you want to be a teacher or a professor. You can always double major. Don’t neglect your writing courses. You need to know how to write and spell in order to be a good engineer. There’s more documentation required than you might realize. Also, skills in public speaking are good to have, because you will be expected to get up in front of people (peers, managers and customers) and present your designs at reviews. Try and find time to take a few accounting and finance courses. Engineers are business people, too.
Share one thing about yourself that would give others insight into your interests, hobbies, etc.
One of the great things about living in Albuquerque is the opportunity for hot air ballooning. I crew for “It’s a Zoo,” and you can find us on row A of “Balloon Fiesta Park” in October.