I grew up outside a small town in rural Michigan. In the years leading to my graduation from high school, I was active in Boy Scouts, Band, 4-H, the Envirothon, and Science Olympiad. Fairly nerdy all around. Through these groups, I had the opportunity to travel to Canada’s Boundary Waters, Florida’s Disneyland, Washington D.C., and Maryland.
In the Fall of 2003, I began Army Basic Training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. While I did not get to see much of the base or local town, I became intimately familiar with the humid afternoons, chilly nights, and hard clay soil. Mostly from the push-up position. The Army then took me to Fort Huachuca, Arizona, where I trained as a 33W, maintaining military intelligence electronics systems. Once my training was complete, I was stationed in Wurzburg, Germany, in the First Infantry Division. Within 2 years, we had moved the division back to Fort Riley, Kansas, and redistributed my unit into several other units. This redistribution included myself, and soon I was headed to Baghdad, Iraq. I spent 14 months deployed, returned to Kansas, and after a few months left the Army.
While I was deployed, I applied to my only school of choice, Michigan State University. My application essay about international experience was fairly straightforward: I wrote it from a combat zone. Continuing the professional path that I started in the Army, I majored in Computer Engineering. After the first Electrical Engineering and Computer Science courses, I promptly changed my major to Computer Science, with a second major in Criminal Justice. Taking a specialization in Science, Technology, the Environment, and Public Policy, I was able to get into a study abroad to Antarctica. This was an amazing experience, and fuels my love of travel. I secured internships with USAA and the Michigan State Police, and full time employment as a software developer with USAA.
Moving closer to home, I am now a software development manager at Michigan State University Federal Credit Union. In this role, I am responsible for hiring, developing, and retaining a great team to build and maintain the Credit Union’s online presence and core system. I also act as the project manager for larger initiates and as a coach as we adopt agile and scrum development practices.