Three new master's graduates in comptroller department

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Story by Brian Melanephy on 10/19/2017
PORT HUENEME, Calif. Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme Division (NSWC PHD) employees from across the workforce continue to further their education due to strong command emphasis on furthering education.
This year, three employees from the comptroller department recently completed master's degrees.
Accountant Tanya Anderson, from Vallejo, Calif. and Financial Management Analyst Matthew Lawton, from Coventry, R.I., completed the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) Executive Master of Business Administration Program in September and Accountant Erik Rader, from Camarillo, Calif. completed a Master of Business Administration in Management and Strategy from Western Governors University.
All three were looking to further their education and each took the step in 2015. Anderson new she wanted to get her master's degree and when she found out about the Executive MBA Program she felt she couldn't pass it up.
"It was one of the best career moves I have made so far," said Anderson.
Lawton started his journey when he was working at Naval Undersea Warfare Center Newport and transferred to NSWC PHD while enrolled in the course. He met Anderson at the orientation in Monterey, Calif., not knowing he would be working with her.
Rader completed his bachelor's degree in 2013 and then rolled right into his master's degree. He took advantage of tuition assistance from NSWC PHD. The program was challenging for him; it was online and self-paced. However, he persevered and graduated in four years.
For Anderson and Lawton, they had to take classes every Thursday from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. Before Lawton arrived, Anderson travelled to Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake every week for her classwork. She did this for about a year and then commuted with Lawton. Students were required to work in groups of five called cohorts and there were no other students enrolled from NSWC PHD.
Shortly after starting to commute together, Anderson and Lawton found two other students at Naval Base Ventura County who were in the program. They were able to get an exception to the five person cohort rule, and with the assistance of the Comptroller, Bill Schlesinger, found a small space in Building 1388. The space was converted into a classroom that met the specifications required by NPS and they no longer had to commute.
Lawton enjoyed the blend of military and civilians in the course and specifically the views the military members brought to the table.
"The majority of our cohort was military; there were a lot of impressive people in our classes and future military leaders," Lawton said. "There were very strong benefits to interaction between the military and civilian [students]."
Rader wondered at times if he was going to make it through his program. He didn't breathe a sigh of relief until he found out his capstone projects were approved. He is thrilled by the doors that have opened since getting both of his degrees and was quick to share words of encouragement to other NSWC PHD employees considering going back to school.
"If you have the opportunity and you know you will have the support, do it," said Rader. "There is nothing bad I can say about furthering your education."
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