Military/Veteran profile: from Navy communications to UMSI
Alfred Speredelozzi (MSI '00) served on board a U.S. Navy guided missile cruiser as a communications officer, an experience that led him to focus on how people could improve their computing experiences as part of his master's degree. Here is his story, in his own words:
“I was Navy ROTC in college at Rensselaer from 1990-1994. Before that, I was very involved with the Civil Air Patrol in my hometown of Brockton, Mass. Anyway, I had dreams of becoming a pilot and then an astronaut, which is why I joined the Navy.
“Fast forward to college graduation, and my eyesight has begun to decline. I was initially approved to be trained as a pilot in the Navy, but my vision required me to transfer to Naval Flight Officer school. Honestly, I wasn't very motivated to do that job (far less chance of becoming an astronaut!).
“After that, I served on the USS Normandy, a guided missile cruiser, as the communications officer. There I earned my Surface Warfare qualification, while deployed in the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Southern Watch.
“Meanwhile, my wife was graduating from Georgia Tech and decided to pursue a PhD in Mechanical Engineering at U-M. At some point, she discovered an ad in the Georgia Tech newspaper for UMSI. She had known my interests were heavily leaning toward computers and how people can use them better. I was especially fond of criticizing the computer systems that the Navy used to route radio message traffic.
“I think she was trying to entice me to leave the Navy and join her at U of M, which I ultimately decided to do. At any rate, that was where my military service ended.
“I went to UMSI from 1999-2000 and specialized in HCI. While getting my degree, I interned at Diamond Bullet Design as a web designer and programmer. After my degree, I stayed on as a Usability Specialist/Consultant.
“When Valerie was hired as a professor at the University of Rhode Island, College of Engineering, I followed her out here. I was a stay at home dad, but I did some side projects in web design and usability. Then I was hired by URI ITS to maintain the Web pages for the university on-line application.
“Eventually, I became in charge of the entire back-end data systems for the admission department. Recently, I was hired to be the manager of the URI Engineering Computing Center.”