By Kenneth A. Stewart, Naval Postgraduate School Public AffairsMONTEREY, Calif. (NNS) -- Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserve Affairs Juan M. Garcia returned to the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) for his second round of meetings with local community business and education leaders, Jan. 9.
"It has been a great couple of days for the NPS community. Secretary Garcia's presence and participation in our community outreach initiative is critical to its success," said NPS Interim President Rear Adm. Jan E. Tighe. "His interactions with our students, faculty and staff have been very beneficial in highlighting our unique value to the Navy and the nation. The high-quality of our students and workforce showed prominently throughout the visit."
The community outreach initiatives are intended to strengthen community ties, ensuring both the institution and the community maintain constant dialogue as NPS moves forward into 2013.
"I am pleased to return to Monterey to continue our efforts of engagement with regional leadership through these outreach initiatives," said Garcia. "The input we have received in the early stages of this effort has been invaluable, and I am very confident this outreach will only continue to provide critical input to the future of this prestigious university."
In addition to meeting with community leaders, Garcia also held a meeting with current NPS students as well. Garcia posed a series of questions on a wide range of subjects, with the students offering their own opinions on everything from NPS research opportunities and faculty to future assignments and quality of life issues.
"During this visit to campus, I took the opportunity to meet with several students and faculty to gain a deeper understanding of their perspectives of the institution," said Garcia. "The men and women studying here are the future leaders of the Navy ... As we move forward, we must keep a vigilant eye toward the true value of NPS."
"The instruction at NPS, compared to the training we normally receive, is extraordinary ... The people in front of the podium are incredible and what they teach is in line with the needs of my service," said U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Brent Molaski in response to a question about the quality of an NPS education.
"They are recognized experts in the field, particularly in my field of tropical cyclone research," added U.S. Navy Lt. Travis Wendt.
NASA employee Marissa Herron agreed with her fellow students, and commented on her plans after graduation.
"I plan on going back to Houston and applying my remote sensing experience to a NASA problem, perhaps the Mars Rover Project," said Herron.
In addition to his meetings with regional leaders, students and faculty, Garcia also spent an afternoon touring various NPS educational and research facilities.
"I was impressed with the research facilities and labs I had the chance to explore this afternoon," said Garcia. "Certainly, any graduate education requires a fundamental effort in research, and NPS clearly has the talent and facilities to support the explorations of its students."