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Today@NPS - August 2013
Today@NPS showcases some of the speakers, conferences, experiments, lectures, and other events that take place at the Naval Postgraduate School on a daily basis.  If you would like more information about any of the highlighted activities please contact the public affairs office at To view more stories visit the Today at NPS archive. NPS' photo galleries and graduation pictures can be found on the Photo Gallery - Collections page.
Photo courtesy retired Rear Adm. Jerry Ellis 

In Memoriam, Ships Cook 2nd Class Harold Mulnix
Dale M. Kuska

When submariners across the NPS community gathered to honor 113 years of the Navy's submarine force in April of this year, one of the guests of honor at the event was Ships Cook 2nd Class Harold "Hal" Mulnix, the longest qualified submariner in the Barbara McNitt Ballroom that night, receiving his Dolphins an astounding 70 years prior. Mulnix passed away on Tuesday, Aug. 20, at his home in California's Central Valley.

Mulnix, far left, is pictured here at Submarine Birthday Ball on April 20, 2013, along with, from left to right, his son Doug, Submarine Birthday Ball Committee Chair Nikki Hunt, and President of the Northern California Chapter of the Naval Submarine League, Lt. Steven Hunt, a member of this September's graduating class.

"It was an honor and pleasure to have Ships Cook 2nd Class Mulnix as a very special guest at the NPS Submarine Birthday Ball," said retired Rear Adm. Jerry Ellis, NPS Chair Professor in Undersea Warfare. "He was the longest qualified submariner at the ball, having qualified and received his coveted Dolphins in 1943 on board the submarine USS Sturgeon (SS 187).

U.S. Navy photo by MC3 Shawn J. Stewart 

Campus-Wide Faculty, Staff Meeting Updates NPS Community
MC2 Chablis J. Torrence

Naval Postgraduate School Director of Contracting and Logistics Management Patricia Hirsch addresses staff and faculty gathered for a campus-wide meeting with Interim President Rear Adm. Jan E. Tighe and top leadership, Aug. 28 in King Auditorium.

“Today's all faculty and staff update was a continuation of the dialogue we began in July to reset as a campus-wide community. We have made great progress over the past several months that is worth celebrating,” said Tighe. “At the same time, we still have hard work to do, and I want to ensure every member of the NPS team has the most up-to-date and accurate information possible on these critical business processes in order to continue our forward momentum."

The campus-wide, all-hands session lasted just over an hour with opportunities for candid questions from attendees to university leadership throughout.

U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Chablis Torrence 

NPS Internship Program Fosters Opportunity, Community Outreach
Kenneth A. Stewart

NPS Interim President Rear Adm. Jan E. Tighe addresses students and faculty at Hartnell College’s annual Summer Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Internship Symposium, Aug. 24. NPS recently hosted 93 STEM summer interns comprised of high school, community college, and university students from the local community.

According to NPS STEM Internship Coordinator Alison Kerr, the internship program aims to prepare the next generation of young people to replace aging scientists in the STEM fields.

Internship program organizers partnered Hartnell College interns with NPS students and faculty from a variety of STEM disciplines, and the partnerships are already producing results. “One hundred percent of our Hartnell students have graduated with a B.A., are working in a  STEM field, or are working on doctoral or graduate work … We cannot take all the credit for that, but we are proud to have ben a part of their success,” said Kerr.

U.S. Navy photo by Javier Chagoya 

Local SAPR Coordinators Provide Advocacy for Sailors in Need
MC3 Danica Sirmans

Heather Ruppert-Cleary, right, and Katherine Chevalier, left, discuss the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) training program in Naval Support Activity Monterey’s Fleet and Family Support Center in the La Mesa housing area.

Key to the Navy’s comprehensive SAPR program is to provide compassionate advocacy to Sailors and civilian personnel in times of need. At the local command level, this has led to the designation of two allies, Ruppert-Cleary and Chevalier, for active duty and civilian personnel stationed at NPS, and all tenant activities within the NSA Monterey umbrella.

Ruppert-Cleary is the installation’s Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC) and says that the re-energized focus on sexual assault prevention and training, for all personnel, has led to a much improved and more comprehensive support system for the command.

U.S. Navy photo by Javier Chagoya 

Fleet Numerical Says Farewell to Capt. Sauer
Javier Chagoya

Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center Commanding Officer, Captain Erika Sauer, right, salutes Capt. John Okon, left, as 17th District Representative Congressman Sam Farr, center, looks on during Sauer’s change  of command ceremony, Aug. 23.

Sauer, an NPS alumna, was awarded the Legion of Merit during the ceremony and was lauded for her commitments to safety and mission critical enhancements. She thanked her Sailors for the work that led to her many accomplishments. “I am humbled daily by your commitment,” said Sauer.

Also present at the ceremony were 17th District Representative Congressman Sam Farr and Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Commander, Rear Adm. Brian Brown.

“FNMOC is a critical member of the warfighting Team,” said Brown. “Bravo Zulu and a job well done.”

U.S. Navy photo by Javier Chagoya 

EMBA’s Latest Cohort on Campus for Orientation Week
Javier Chagoya

The latest cohort of 42 Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) students has spent the last week on campus getting to know each other, and their professors, in preparation for the two-year EMBA distance learning (DL) program. Even though the next time they see each will be via DL technology, the cohort will spend the next 24 months working together, and in smaller teams, on a variety of business and management coursework, projects and activities.

Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Logistics Management Specialist Jessica Connelly, one of the students in the new cohort, noted how important this initial team building is for the program. “It’s the team concept that I really like about this DL course. I’m inspired by the others that I’ve just met and I’m very excited to have the opportunity to earn an EMBA,” she said.

Connelly, who works for NAVSEA’s Washington Navy Yard location in Washington, D.C., will be attending the program via video teleconference classrooms back at the yard. She and her fellow students will all return to their respective workplaces across the country in preparation for the program’s first day of instruction when the Fall Quarter begins, Sept. 30.

U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Chablis Torrence 

NPS, NSAM Leadership Continue Community Interaction Meetings
MC3 Shawn J. Stewart

NPS Director of Outreach and Community Relations Alan Richmond, standing left, greets local government, business and higher education officials during a regional leadership meeting in NPS’ Herrmann Hall, Aug. 20.

The gathering was the fifth in a series of focus group meetings designed to maintain open lines of communication between the university and its local and regional partners.  

With the first meeting held in December of last year, the community focus groups were developed in response to a directive from Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus designed to strengthen ties between the institution and the regional community.

U.S. Navy photo by Javier Chagoya 

Strategic Studies Group Director Fellows Announced
MC2 Chablis J. Torrence

Chief of Naval Operations Strategic Studies Group (CNO SSG) Director, retired Adm. James Hogg, briefs the current group of newly-selected CNO SSG Director Fellows and alternates in Herrmann Hall’s Elster Conference Room, Aug. 13.

The mission of the CNO SSG is to generate revolutionary naval warfare concepts at the direction of the Chief of Naval Operations himself. The group focuses its efforts on high-potential tactics and innovative procedures that have not yet been exploited by the Navy. “I consider it a true honor to be selected for the CNO SSG,” said U.S. Army Capt. Mohamed Massaquoi. “This opportunity to be a part of naval innovation will be a welcome experience that I intend to draw upon for years to come.”

NPS Interim President Rear Adm. Jan E. Tighe, who joined Hogg and Dean of Student Capt. Tom MacRae in the final selection process, congratulated the fellows in this week’s portico message. “ADM Hogg, the Dean of Students and I were challenged to select only six CNO Strategic Studies Group Fellows. Based on the great candidates and their diversity of experiences, we picked seven and three alternates! Congratulations to the selectees,” Tighe wrote.

U.S. Navy photo by Javier Chagoya 

Summer Interns Say Goodbye to NPS
Javier Chagoya

Cebrowski Institute interns Rogelio Garcia and Rozhelle Buhay show off the autonomous vehicle they built and programed during their eight-week summer internship at NPS. Buhay and Garcia are pursuing engineering degrees in conjunction with Hartnell College’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) program. While at NPS, they built an autonomous vehicle using off-the-shelf remote controlled (RC) rovers.

“We attached an autopilot microcontroller along with a GPS module which locates the rover's position and a telemetry kit that keeps a log of the rover's waypoints,” said Buhay.

Garcia hopes to leverage lessons learned throughout his internship experience both professionally and personally. “I learned a lot about RC stuff, microcontrollers, autopilot and unmanned systems. This internship inspired me to start projects of my own,” said Garcia.  

Garcia has come a long away. He enrolled in the California Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) Program after emigrating to the U.S. from his native Mexico. MESA reaches out to educationally disadvantaged students and helps them to excel in math and science.

U.S. Navy photo by Javier Chagoya 

Doctoral Student Examines Bonding Mechanisms of Various Metals
Javier Chagoya

NPS Research Associate D.J. Woo, front, assists doctoral student Cmdr. Jonathon Vanslyke load fine copper powder into a hopper for the cold spray system. Woo manages the machine while also ensuring standard safety protocols are consistently followed when conducting cold spray testing. Woo has been assisting Vanslyke develop cold spray techniques, which use supersonic speed to shoot 10 micron-sized particles of metal, in this case copper, at a target substrate.

“I’m using a computer-controlled monitor to program the spraying agent to the substrate,” said Vanslyke. “It is believed that surface roughness improves the ability of particles to bond to the surface. We are trying to eliminate that variable by using substrates that are highly polished.  I am not worried about the amount that sticks, but am trying to find individual particle impacts,” Vanslyke explained.

Vanslyke, working towards a Ph.D. in applied physics, will continue his research after reporting to the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, D.C. His dissertation will examine the bonding mechanisms at work through the cold spray techniques.

U.S. Navy photo by Javier Chagoya 

Naval Aviation Chief Explores NPS
Javier Chagoya

NPS Department of Information Sciences Associate Professor Dr. Ray Buettner describes to Vice Adm. David Buss how low-cost unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are being used as a testbed for operational concepts, tactics and technologies during a campus visit, Aug. 12.

“This UAV, made of expanded polypropylene, is being used to leverage a decentralized network of autonomous assets to find, fix and engage enemy swarm agents,” Buettner said. NPS researchers plan to pit 100 of the UAVs against each other utilizing a “live-fly architecture” by 2015.

As Commander, Naval Air Forces, Buss visited NPS to examine what technologies are being used in the classroom to help educate officers in the fields of aeronautics and engineering. While on campus, Buss also met with aviators studying at the university, and briefed them on the status of the Navy’s air forces.

U.S. Navy photo by MC3 Shawn J. Stewart 

Researcher Presents Biomedical Engineering to NPS Personnel
MC3 Shawn J. Stewart

Dr. Ravi Vaidyanathan, a senior lecturer in bio-mechatronics with the Imperial College London Department of Mechanical Engineering, gives a presentation on neuromechanics and nervous systems to NPS faculty, students and staff, Aug. 8.

Vaidyanathan and his research team take a comprehensive look at mechanism sensory motor control and apply it to biological structures of human sensory motor control, all in hopes of enhancing or improving biomedical mobile applications.

“Simply put, we look at electro-mechanical systems whose architecture and design are inspired by biology in medical and robotic application,” said Vaidyanathan.

During his lecture, Vaidyanathan reviewed a plethora of research projects, such as biologically-inspired robots that are designed and fabricated like human body parts to serve as advanced prostheses.

“Medically, we are looking at novel micro and macro devices that can substitute parts of the body, augmenting human beings in surgery, mostly in prosthetics and personal assistance,” he said.

U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Chablis J. Torrence 

NSA Monterey’s Starbucks Open for Business
MC2 Chablis J. Torrence

Dudley Knox Library’s newest addition is complete and serving up Starbucks coffee. NPS Police Officers Sal Araujo, left, and Zachary Reiner, right, were the first in line to order their favorite beverages when the café opened for business, Aug. 9.

“We hope this will be your neighborhood spot to study, take a moment to unwind, grab a well-deserved treat, or meet with friends,” said Naval Support Activity Monterey Commanding Officer Capt. Gerral David.

The site offers worktables and plenty of study areas for students as they enjoy a cup of their favorite beverage.

U.S. Navy photo by Javier Chagoya 

NPS Human Research Protection Program Reviewed by Navy’s Chief of Medical R&D
Javier Chagoya

Rear Adm. Bruce Doll, second from left, Commanding Officer of the Navy Medicine Research and Development Command, and NPS Institutional Review Board Chair Dr. Larry Shattuck, left, meet with various students and researchers that conduct studies with human subjects during a campus visit, Aug. 6.

Doll traveled to NPS as the senior oversight official for the Department of the Navy’s Human Research Protection Program, directed by Capt. Alan Nordholm, which is responsible for monitoring the conduct of human subject research in the Navy. While it was Doll’s first visit with NPS’ HRPP officials, it is not his first exposure to the school, completing the NPS Executive Master of Business Administration program in 2012.

Like the majority of all universities and research institutions, all research involving human subjects must be reviewed and approved by the Institutional Review Board and the NPS President. NPS IRB officials note they receive approximately 22 submissions per month, which are reviewed by the IRB within six days, a performance both officials praised.  

U.S. Navy photo by Javier Chagoya 

Naval Academy Interns Explore Tactical Communications Tools
Javier Chagoya

Naval Academy Midshipmen Daniel Fallon, left, and Jonathan Driesslein send each other text messages via QR (quick response) codes. The service academy interns are wrapping up a summer on campus exploring communications tools in tactical environments.

Text typed from their keyboards creates a unique QR representation and is read by the camera scan at real-time speeds. Both Fallon and Driesslein are currently demonstrating the tool at the NPS Joint Interagency Field Exploration (JIFX) exercise at Camp Roberts.

NPS Associate Professor Don Brutzman, technical director in the Modeling, Virtual Environments and Simulation Institute, is mentoring them and also spent time at Camp Roberts. “One of the many ways QR codes can help in emission control is to relay the code through light as we did with ship-to-ship signaling. However, now the QR code represents hundreds of characters and with the use of stronger LED lights, and flashing much more rapidly, messages can be relayed without radio emissions,” Brutzman explained.

U.S. Navy photo by MC3 Shawn J. Stewart 

NPS, NSA Monterey Hosts Feds Feed Families
MC3 Danica Sirmans

Naval Support Activity Monterey (NSAM) Commanding Officer, Capt. Gerral David, and Chaplain, Lt. Cmdr. William Riley, stand with the Feds Feed Families collection bin outside of the Chaplain’s office, Aug. 5.  NSAM will be collecting non-perishable food items until Aug. 31 in support of local families in need.

Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter is encouraging all defense department organizations to support the Department of Agriculture’s fifth annual campaign.

The Department of Defense has compiled a list of the most wanted items. Non-perishable items like canned vegetables and fruits are listed, along with hygiene items, paper products and household items. NPS and NSAM have placed collection bins in several areas on campus including the Chapel, the Chaplain’s Office, and Herrmann Hall.

U.S. Navy photo by MC3 Shawn J. Stewart 

La Mesa Thrift Store Says Final Farewells After Three Decades
MC3 Shawn J. Stewart

Retired school teacher and NPS Foundation Thrift Shop volunteer Sheila Zimmerman reminisces about her three-plus decades of service at the La Mesa facility, July 30. “In the beginning, this place was painted all blue. It was a beauty parlor and a pinball arcade,” said Zimmerman. “With the assistance of the Navy’s Seabees, we built it into a thrift shop about 25 years ago.”

Zimmerman began volunteering in 1983 after her husband, a retired Army Sgt. Maj., passed away. That’s when she says she found her passion for sales and customer service. “I love to socialize with people,” said Zimmerman, “I look forward to meeting them and gaining an understanding of people from different walks of life.”

Prior to operation by the NPS Foundation, the La Mesa Thrift Shop was operated by the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, and the NPS Officer Students’ Spouses Club. The facility officially closed at the end of July.

U.S. Navy photo by Javier Chagoya 

Naval War College Monterey Graduates Honored for Spring Quarter Academic Achievements
Javier Chagoya

U.S. Army Maj. Andrew P. Aswell shows off his Naval War College (NWC) Command and Staff Diploma during a brief ceremony honoring the Spring Quarter’s honored NWC graduates, July 23.

Naval War College Monterey Program Chairman Fred Drake commended all of the students on their hard work over the past quarter and further recognized Aswell for earning highest academic achievement with distinction while satisfying his Joint Professional Military Education (JPME) requirement. Aswell noted that it was the diversity of services he connected with in class that made the coursework rewarding.

“One benefit of taking JPME courses at NPS is the broad cross-section of students with differing backgrounds from each of the services. Getting perspectives on strategic and operational issues from classmates with diverse careers in the military was an extremely valuable experience,” said Aswell

“My main consideration upon completing JPME is that I feel the courses have supplied me with the tools that I will need to serve successfully in future command and staff positions. Feedback from instructors and other students helped me a great deal,” he added. An Army brat himself, Aswell is continuing a family legacy as a Special Forces officer in the defense analysis program.

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