My Association with Capitol Technology University _ Capitol Technology University

My Association with Capitol Technology University _ Capitol Technology University

My Association with Capitol Technology University

I first heard of Capitol through an announcement on the Goddard Space Flight Center Dateline for a Graduate Certificate in Space Operations.  I had been looking for a graduate program and this seemed tailored to my needs.

It was convenient (between work and home), directly related to my new work in the Mission Operations Directorate at Goddard, it was only a three course commitment (I had been out of school for almost 20 years), and it was very reasonably priced compared to other local graduate schools. The program was designed for working students as all classes were scheduled in the evening.

I found the classes were not that difficult, but they did require work as we read the complete textbook in only 8 weeks. I had never read an entire textbook before. We also wrote and presented an 8 to 10 page paper for each class. I did all the research for my papers at the Goddard library which has all the technical reference material anyone could need.

The Certificate was complete by itself, but was also one of several options that were included in a Masters program of Systems Management. I decided to continue for the Masters. I struggled with the first class. It was an introduction to management, was the only non technical course, and was all memorization. After turning in my midterm exam, which I knew I had failed, I talked to the professor and explained I had done poorly since it was all memorized definitions and I hate memorization as I saw no purpose in pure memorization.

He explained that in order to discuss a topic properly, you need the correct terms and the only way to learn those terms is to Paperwriter review memorize them. I still do not like it, but now I understood why memorization is necessary. I was able to study hard and ace the final to pass the class. The rest of the courses were technical and were less of a struggle. 

Beyond learning the details of any specific area, a key benefit of any program of study is to expand your general understanding of new areas.This program expanded my awareness and understanding of management and improved my ability to write technical papers. I do not like to write, but have found that the ability to write is as important in technical areas as in non technical areas. To get a project approved, you must be able to convince someone to fund it. That takes writing and presenting a proposal. Then you must write and present progress reports and then final results. 

The improvement in my performance at work due to the things I learned at Capitol was such that I have maintained my association with Capitol ever since. I have been fortunate to participate in several ways with Capitol:

* I was part of the Alumni Advisory Board, a small group of alumni who met quarterly with the President to discuss ways the alumni could continue to contribute to the college. 

* I was able to provide model rocket units with Capitol for several STEM outreach activities with local high schools and middle schools

* I joined Alumni Association Executive Council when the Alumni Association was formed. The Alumni Association has held several events to reconnect with local alumni

* I serve on the Astronautical Engineering Advisory BoardIt is very satisfying to be able to participate in activities with my friends at Capitol that are of benefit both to me and to the students or community. I strongly recommend finding ways to share your expertise and passion with the next generation.

Thomas C. Bagg, III is a Systems Engineer at ASRC Space and Defense.  He has 37 years of experience in the development and testing of aerospace and defense systems. 

Tom is currently Risk Manager for the OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission due to launch in 2016.  He supported management of the Small Business Innovation Research program for NASA GSFC.  He was on console in the Manned Mission Control Center in Houston Texas, supporting the Hubble Space Telescope Servicing Mission Four in May 2009.  He was part of the NOAA-N and NOAA-N Prime Flight Operations Teams in 2006 & 2009.  He was awarded the NASA GSFC Contractor Excellence Award in 2002 and nominated again in 2003 for his work developing the Systems Engineering Education Development (SEED) Program for NASA at the Goddard Space Flight Center.  He is a member of the INCOSE Chesapeake Chapter and served on the Education and Research Technical Committee, the Space Systems Working Group, and as Co-Chair of the INCOSE Telecommunications Working Group of the Systems Engineering Applications Technical Committee.  He is a member of the Capitol College Astronautical Engineering Industrial Advisory Board and the Alumni Executive Council.  He is active in the Catonsville community with rocket launches for local schools and scout troops, and is secretary for the Catonsville Rails to Trails.  Tom received his BA in Physics from Lafayette College, and his MS in Systems Management from Capitol College.