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By NUWC Division Newport Public Affairs
Before starting at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS), Rachel Meyen-Faria, an engineer in the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division Newport’s Systems Safety and Reliability Engineering Branch, had been warned that the classes were a lot of work.
While she ultimately found this to be true, in the end the effort proved to be well worth it.
“While the experience was rewarding and directly applicable to my NUWC tasking, NPS was a time-consuming, but welcome, challenge,” said Meyen-Faria, who earned a certificate in reliability and maintaining engineering in July 2019 and a master’s degree in systems engineering in July 2022. “I truly enjoyed most of my courses and the NPS professors were knowledgeable, helpful and overall great instructors.
“The best aspect of NPS is the ‘naval’ part. The content of my courses applies to the Navy projects I support every day at Division Newport, and the textbooks, papers and resources provided by my professors I have saved and used for my NUWC tasking multiple times.”
Meyen-Faria was one of 113 Division Newport employees to graduate from NPS since 2019 that were recognized at a ceremony held Aug. 16. A list of all the graduates is available here.
“Continuous education is important to this command,” Dawn Vaillancourt, head of Division Newport’s Strategic Planning Office, said. “Our leadership has made a commitment to invest resources into advancing the education of our workforce.”
This is something that was made apparent to Meyen-Faria when she interviewed for her job at Division Newport.
“Completing graduate school was always a goal of mine,” Meyen-Faria said. “Then during my interview at NUWC, the importance and opportunity of continuing my education was discussed and encouraged.”
Meyen-Faria began working on her graduate certificate in 2019, which she then applied toward earning her master’s degree. She said she found her capstone project particularly rewarding, as her work had a Navy sponsor and was used to further research for real Navy applications.
“I would absolutely encourage other NUWC employees to participate in the NPS programs. There is so much value in taking the NPS courses and the experience is overall very beneficial individually, as well as for Division Newport and the naval programs we support,” Meyen-Faria said. “I actually have a friend and fellow NUWC Division Newport employee who ended up starting an NPS certificate while I was in my master’s program. When he was deciding if he should pursue the NPS certificate, I encouraged him to do so.”
NPS is a unique academic opportunity that Division Newport offers to employees who are interested in pursuing an education through command funding. Employees who are selected to participate in this program pursue degrees or certificates at no financial cost of their own while continuing to work full time. NPS provides defense-focused graduate education, including classified studies and interdisciplinary research, to advance the operational effectiveness, technological leadership and warfighting advantage of the naval service.
At the ceremony on Aug. 16, Vaillancourt and Deputy Technical Director for Technical Excellence John Babb served as guest speakers representing Division Newport. Also in attendance were NPS professors Ronald Carlson, Kay “Kai” L. Gemba, Jessica Herman, Dr. Christina Hart and Dr. Warren K. Vaneman.
“On behalf of all the faculty and staff, we would like to congratulate you on your accomplishments,” Carlson, who served as the master of ceremonies, said. “Your efforts are to be commended. Juggling the academic requirements along with your workplace tasks is not easy, but I hope our program has instilled in you a love of lifelong learning.”
Those recognized at the ceremony earned master’s degrees in contract management, systems engineering, engineering acoustics, engineering management and systems analysis, as well as graduate certificates in anti-submarine warfare, lead systems integrator, cybersecurity fundamentals, cybersecurity defense, robotics engineering, reliability and maintainability engineering, and systems analysis.
“Professor Carlson already mentioned the relevance of the programs that NPS offers to the work that we do. That is certainly true,” Vaillancourt said. “What NPS also offers our workforce is flexibility and adaptability with their distance learning, their multitude of program offerings, and their stackable certificate programs. These are options the workforce of today needs to balance work, school and life.”
More information about NPS can be found on its website at: https://nps.edu/
NUWC Newport is the oldest warfare center in the country, tracing its heritage to the Naval Torpedo Station established on Goat Island in Newport Harbor in 1869. Commanded by Capt. Chad Hennings, NUWC Newport maintains major detachments in West Palm Beach, Florida, and Andros Island in the Bahamas, as well as test facilities at Seneca Lake and Fisher's Island, New York, Leesburg, Florida, and Dodge Pond, Connecticut.
Join our team! NUWC Division Newport, one of the 20 largest employers in Rhode Island, employs a diverse, highly trained, educated, and skilled workforce. We are continuously looking for engineers, scientists, and other STEM professionals, as well as talented business, finance, logistics and other support experts who wish to be at the forefront of undersea research and development. Please connect with NUWC Division Newport Recruiting at this site- https://www.navsea.navy.mil/Home/Warfare-Centers/NUWC-Newport/Career-Opportunities/ and follow us on LinkedIn @NUWC-Newport and on Facebook @NUWCNewport.