A bigger picture of academic success

The core group of 12 alumni and friends who make up the Dean’s Leadership Council (DLC) for S&T’s College of Arts, Sciences, and Business (CASB) are recognized and respected in fields that span industries in defense, energy, information technology, medicine, manufacturing and academia.

They also serve as role models to the university community who are dedicated to strengthening CASB faculty and students through guidance, innovation and financial commitment. The six members featured below all share one belief: Learning across disciplines is powerful.

DLC President Ted Kelly, Econ’77, is a principal and senior project manager of regulatory services at Burns & McDonnell in Kansas City, Mo., where he analyzes system operations and management, forecasts revenue requirements, develops rates, and completes strategic plans for utility companies. Kelly says his combined economics major and engineering management minor proved to be the optimum choice to begin a career in the consulting industry.

“Courses in calculus, statistics, macro- and microeconomics, natural resource economics, and management gave me a solid background and the tools to get started in my field,” says Kelly. “CASB’s programs today prepare students for many jobs, including consulting and business analysis. There are a variety of job opportunities for graduates with strong math and economic backgrounds in city government, public works, utilities and consulting.

Dr. Paul Stricker, LSci’82, works with young athletes in his pediatric sports medicine clinic in San Diego. As one of approximately 200 U.S. doctors board-certified in both sports medicine and pediatrics, Stricker represented the U.S. at the Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. He is a past president of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine and an author of numerous medical publications and a book on youth sports success.

Stricker believes that to be successful, a college education must fit the desires of the student. “I had the desire to pursue sports medicine to tie in my athletics with science,” say Stricker, a member of the Miner swimming team as a student. “A background in the CASB academic disciplines contributes to a well-roundedness that can be a great foundation for whatever students wish to pursue as they get more exposure to life and identify their passions.

“At a tough school like Missouri S&T, the entire package of academics and sports prepared me very well for success in many aspects of life, which is why I love continuing to be connected to the university.”

Cori Nelson, MgtSys’02, DLC secretary, is a senior data analyst at Cerner Corp. in Kansas City, Mo., where she has worked since graduating from S&T. She says the interdisciplinary intersection of human-computer interaction, or “user experience,” is a current focus in Cerner’s software development.

“As a CASB student, I took classes with mining and mechanical engineers and participated in group projects with electrical and computer engineers,” says Nelson. “Having those kinds of shared college experiences and learning to communicate across disciplines lays a foundation on which careers in technical companies can be built.”

Steve Frey, MS Phys’86, is a senior leader in the ISR Systems Group at L3 Technologies in Orlando. He works on strategy and development of systems that provide global intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance through advanced defense and commercial aviation technologies.

“The systems people build today are complex. To make them effective, we have to balance a degree of difficulty and knowledge across a variety of scientific and technological disciplines.”

When Frey earned his master’s degree in physics, systems engineering programs were scarce. Today he credits his physics education for giving him the broad background that allows him to understand biology, applied chemistry, optical science, thermal dynamics and software design — all subjects that help him solve complex technological problems and take new developments from the lab to production.

Carl Schmitz, IST’10, is a manager of supply chain information technology at Boeing in St. Louis and serves on the DLC’s executive committee.

“Attending a predominantly engineering school enhances our problem-solving skills and ability to work in cross-discipline teams,” says Schmitz. “My degree in information science and technology built both the technical skills and business acumen required to interact with teammates across the company and ensure our solutions deliver value.

“Technical companies require a wide variety of skills to turn concepts into reality,” says Schmitz. “How would you sell a product without marketing and communications support? What business can run without an accountant to keep track of the money? CASB graduates bring this essential knowledge — and much more.”

Pam Leitterman, Math’75, is retired from a 28-year career at Hewlett-Packard where she managed the company’s customer experience program. Leitterman, who lives in Sunnyvale, Calif., is DLC vice president.

“Core analytical and synthesis skills are valuable to any business — whether developed in a science, information technology or engineering discipline or through written analyses of literature, history, philosophy or psychology,” says Leitterman. “Those skills can help you improve existing business processes or spot trends that can lead to new business opportunities.”

Also serving her second three-year term as president of S&T’s Academy of Computer Science in the College of Engineering and Computing, Leitterman appreciates how her volunteer opportunities serve both colleges at S&T. “My work in both colleges helps me better see the bigger picture of the overall university.

“I hope I’m also enabling the cross-unit collaboration I think is so important in any organization or institution,” says Leitterman.

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