Alex Kedrowitsch ('17)
Officer, United States Army
Class of ’17
I am an Officer in the United States Army working in communications. I am married and have two beautiful daughters who have demonstrated immense understanding and resilience dealing with the challenges of being a military family. I graduated from Penn State in 2004 with a bachelor’s of science in computer science and was selected to be a rotating faculty member in the United States Military Academy at West Point in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
As part of the assignment, I attended Virginia Tech from 2015 – 2017 and earned a master’s in computer science. While teaching for three years at the United States Military Academy, I earned my assistant professorship as well as the Clark K. Ray Award for Teaching Excellence in Computer Science. I was recently selected to return to the military academy for an additional tour and hope to attend Virginia Tech shortly to earn a Ph.D.
When I am not working, I love spending time with my family, whether it is playing board games or simply taking walks. I also enjoy Amateur Radio, 3D printing, and all things space.
How did the department equip you for the ‘real world’?
The Department of Computer Science ensured I had not just a deep, but meaningful understanding of the tenants of computer science. For each covered concept, I not only understood the ‘how’, but also the conditions and variables that fed into the ‘why’.
Rarely do real-world problems match those discussed in textbooks and the classroom, but by being armed with an appreciation for how and why solutions are developed, I found myself ready to tackle many of the problems and challenges that would have previously eluded me.
Being a Virginia Tech alumnus means…
As a Hokie alumni, I know I belong to a family. Whenever I wear anything that represents Virginia Tech, I continually run into fellow graduates for a quick chat. This even includes friends/family of Hokies that were so impressed by what they saw in their own Hokie that they also feel compelled to share a few kind words. I know I am part of something special when a four-star general shouts ‘Go Hokies!’ to me from across the street!
My fondest memory of my time in the department is…
It is honestly hard to identify a single instance that stands apart from the wonderful times I’ve spent in the department. However, if I had to put my finger on a specific element, I would say that I greatly enjoyed the camaraderie of the computer science research groups at KnowledgeWorks II. I have never had the honor to work with such a diverse and hard-working group and it has made a significant impression on me. Each of us had our own backgrounds and motivations for being at Virginia Tech, yet we all shared a drive for excellence in our field and willingness to help each other. There is real strength in an organization like this and the residual feeling of being part of that stuck with me over the years.
My master’s degree prepared me as an instructor at West Point by…
Not just delivering excellent course content, but by having a faculty and staff that genuinely cared. I’ve studied at other institutions and know this isn’t something that can be easily replicated or reproduced. The faculty and staff of the Department of Computer Science treat each student as an investment and work with each of us individually to help achieve our best.
I took that example and strove to emulate it while teaching at the military academy. Computer Science is one of the hardest degrees at the military academy and the cadets I taught knew that I was personally
interested in their successes and failures, which helped them find the energy and fortitude to overcome many of the challenges they faced. This also helped me establish lasting bonds with several of my students, many of whom I still have contact with.
My favorite memory from working with Dr. Yao is…
When she had everyone from her research group get together to recognize each other’s accomplishments. Our research group generally investigated a wide range of topics, so we were each frequently exploring items that the other members did not have a lot of information on. Getting everyone together was a great way to share findings, and it really helped us feel like we had a place where we belonged.