AFIT Certifies Four Sandians
Posted: 11/06/2006 by AFIT Public Affairs
By Darrick Hurst
Sandia Lab News
Four Sandians have received their graduate certificates in systems engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology.
Talbot Smith (5443), Michael Vickers (5702), Martha Charles-Vickers (5745), and Jeff Alexander (5443) completed the program’s curriculum, which lasted more than a year and focuses on the implementation of systems engineering and the advancement of systems engineering principles.
“It was Jeff Alexander who brought up the idea of going through the certificate program, mainly to get educated about systems engineering,” says Talbot. “What was most appealing about the program was that it wouldn’t impact your work schedule.”
The course curriculum was particularly relevant to these Sandians because of the changing needs of the Department of Defense and the Air Force, says Jeff.
“Our customer base is rapidly ramping up to systems engineering,” he says. “Getting certification in that field allows us to speak our customers’ language, you might say.”
The classes were web-based video lectures, with satellite classes from around the country meeting for a videoconference once a week. The last class was a “capstone project,” which is like a group thesis based on an actual program or project, says Talbot.
“The certificate program credits can also be used to complement a graduate program through many other colleges, if, for example, the person wanted to finish out a master’s in electrical engineering, or in another discipline in engineering,” says Talbot.
The AFIT is in the process of creating resources to allow students to finish their master’s degree in systems engineering using the same class format as the graduate certificate program, says Talbot.
“The master’s program could start up in a couple of months, and take about one and a half years to complete,” says Jeff.
Jeff is the project manager and lead engineer in Directed Energy Special Applications Dept. 5443. He received his associate’s degree in electrical engineering from Oklahoma State University and his BS in electrical engineering from the University of New Mexico.
Talbot graduated with a BS in mechanical engineering from UNM in 1986, and began working at Sandia researching radiation effects and as support for the PROTO II accelerator. He was a member of the crew at Saturn before working on the development of a smart accelerometer. Talbot was responsible for developing the first paperless plastic accelerator component. He now works in the Directed Energy Special Applications group designing, developing, building, and testing compact pulsed power machines.
Martha is the payload and integration test lead for Payload Integration/Operations Dept. 5702. She earned her master’s in nuclear engineering from Texas A&M University and her Executive MBA from UNM.
Michael’s work history includes missile systems, reliability assessment and human factors, neutron generator design, logistics, and facilities. He holds an Executive MBA and a BS in electrical engineering, both from UNM. Michael received an associate degree in electronics and refrigeration from Central New Mexico Community College, formerly TVI, in addition to In-Hours Technical Education Courses at Sandia.