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Students in systems engineering program form local chapter

By Dan Broadstreet | NSWC PCD Public Affairs | June 20, 2019


A cohort of seven students employed at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division (NSWC PCD) have worked with other Florida State University Panama City (FSU PC) students to form the first Student Chapter of the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE) in the Florida Panhandle.

According to Lori Zipes, NSWC PCD Science and Technology Department Chief Engineer, these are students currently enrolled in a newly established Master of Science in Systems Engineering (MSSE) program. Stood up as part of an Educational Partnership Agreement in April 2018, this program was the result of an academic collaboration between the College of Engineering at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University - Florida State University (FAMU-FSU) Tallahassee and NSWC PCD.

“INCOSE is a not-for-profit organization and professional society in the field of systems engineering and has approximately 17,000 members,” said Zipes. “I would like to recognize the initiative of our student employees involved in this effort. The students are already working full-time and earning a Master’s degree largely after hours, yet they are willing to devote even more of their time to establish and serve in a leadership role for this student chapter.”

Alex Burgans, NSWC PCD employee and current President of the newly established INCOSE Student Chapter said this recent founding has been helpful in many ways.

“We have already benefitted from the wealth of recourses that INCOSE provides,” said Burgens. “Not only is this profitable academically as part of the MSSE Cohort, but also professionally, as we strive to apply systems engineering principles and practices to our respective programs and projects at NSWC PCD.”

This year’s NSWC PCD employees enrolled in the FAMU-FSU MSSE program and who are now members of the newly-founded INCOSE Student Chapter include: Alex Burgans, President; Tinsley Ihaski, Secretary; Devin Ramsey, Treasurer; David Daigle; Dustin Freeburg; Keith Hartless; and Suzy Houser.

Ed Stewart (SES), NSWC PCD Technical Director, Dr. Teresa Shirey, Science and Technology Analyst for Chief of Naval Operations (N95), and Zipes originally began working with the associated academic institutions in 2014 to create the MSSE.

“It is now a two-year curriculum structured to help aspiring systems engineers increase their knowledge and skills,” said Zipes. “It’s also expected to help foster future growth and economic success between Bay County’s technical sector and the Navy’s engineering community.”

Zipes said the benefits to students involved in the local INCOSE chapter would be career enhancing and extremely beneficial.

“Members of this local student chapter will enjoy several benefits,” said Zipes. “For example, they will gain access to a wealth of resources that INCOSE provides like peer reviewed journals, books, guides, training courses, workshops, and symposia. In addition, they will have multiple occasions to network with leading experts in the field of systems engineering. The students will also encounter opportunities to engage in advancing the practice themselves as their knowledge and skills grow.”

NSWC PCD intends to continue its support of the FAMU-FSU MSSE program by selecting a new cohort of employee participants each fall.  NSWC PCD employees interested in applying to the program should contact Lisa Winsett, NSWC PCD Systems Engineering Competency Lead.