(l to r)  John Sokolowski, Leslie Taylor, Fahad Ahmed, John Bohanan, Greg Mabry, Amy Markowich, Greg Faulstich, Dennis Reed, Jared Angus, Cao Nguyen, Todd Morgan, Jason Catterton, Jessica Howard, Eric O’Neill, Jesse Gray, Chris Cheok, Christian Riddle, Jonathan Voda, Johana Mercado-Perez, Nicole Wingate, Deb Rey standing in front of M&S product demonstrations

Patuxent River, MD –– On June 18, the first 14 students in the School of Modeling and Simulation (M&S), part of the NAVAIR University College of Test and Evaluation, received their graduate certificates after completing four master’s degree level courses in less than a year, while doing their “normal” jobs.

With their certificates, through a partnership with Old Dominion University of Norfolk, Virginia, the students can go on to earn Master’s of Engineering degrees in Modeling and Simulation (M&S) with only six more classes.

Amy Markowich, dean of the school of M&S and director of the Integrated Battlespace Simulation and Test Department, said that she is extremely proud of the students who put forth the effort to expand their knowledge in M&S.

“We need all of our workforce to have the foundational knowledge to employ M&S across everything that we do,” Markowich said. “We appreciate that you invested the time to enhance your M&S skills. This will allow you to create more innovative products using Live, Virtual, Constructive environments to do research, development, test and evaluation and training.”

Many students found the program workload to be strenuous due to the short amount of time.

“It is possible to condense a semester of work into one week of hard study, but you need to be very focused,” said Jared Angus, a computer scientist in the Integrated Battlespace Simulation and Test Department. “You don’t have the time to spend extra time getting additional one-on-one review if you missed something.  If you don’t understand a concept, you have to figure it out fast because the next lesson where you need to implement what you just learned is coming up right after lunch instead of next week.”

Even though it was tough, Angus appreciated the chance to continue with the program.

“I loved and appreciated this opportunity. These classes were extremely challenging,” Angus said. “All of this just works to make succeeding that much more fulfilling. I really hope we have the opportunity to take further classes in the master’s curriculum.”

Attending the ceremony were a few distinguished guests including John Bohanan, senior advisor to U.S. House Representative Steny Hoyer, State Delegate Deb Rey, St. Mary’s County Commissioner Todd Morgan, and Leslie Taylor, executive director of the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division.

Bohanan and Taylor both thanked the students for taking time out of their hectic work and personal schedules to expand their M&S experience and knowledge to be able to better support the warfighter.

Other NAVAIR employees will have similar opportunities in the future.  The next session for the M&S Certificate Program will be held in the fall of 2015.  For more information, visit the NAVAIR University website,https://navairu.navair.navy.mil/.