Bob Schmidt’s career has taken him from the Navy, with six years of service as a submariner in the 1970s and 1980s, to the Navy, as a civilian member of Chief of Naval Operations’ staff in the D.C. area for the past six years, with a stint at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Groton and later in Newport, RI, in between. During that period working in Groton and Newport, he also took the time to go to Eastern as a nontraditional, evening student and earn a degree in Computer Science in 2000.
Schmidt is very complimentary about his Eastern experience.
He had begun to notice, and was even told directly by one supervisor, he said, that he was going to have trouble advancing his career without a degree. Having it, his career has advanced.
Schmidt was already nearly 40 when he came to Eastern, having taken college courses previously at UConn but as yet not close to earning a degree. His life outside of his Eastern classes was full-time work, a wife, family, coaching kids in soccer and the like. Yet his enthusiasm for Eastern is at least as great as most of the students who come here right out of high school and have the conventional experience with campus activities, dormitory life, interactions with professors and fun with fellow students who become their friends. Schmidt feels that Eastern made no distinction between nontraditional students and full-time students right out of high school, and the small campus facilitated the ability for students like him to form bonds with others, even those in different disciplines.
He is especially positive about the interactions he had with his teachers, even as a night student who arrived for his classes and left shortly afterward. He said the Computer Science major here is calculus based and mathematics heavy, not a tech training course.
“I’m not a math genius. But the professors that were there had more than enough time to drive it into my head. And I did not get that at UConn,” he said. “I was impressed with the access I had to any professor no matter whether that prof was the department head or an adjunct professor.”
As Requirements Manager for the Surface Navy’s Anti-submarine Warfare (ASW) Combat Systems, he is the Navy’s subject matter expert on requirements for Surface ASW, and works with government agencies, academia and industry. He reports directly to a Navy Captain, and through that officer to admirals and finally the CNO, the Navy’s commanding four star admiral.