Name: Maj. Ara Barton, USMC
Hometown: China Lake, California
Major: M.S. candidate, Systems Engineering
Ara Barton lives life in the fast lane – literally. He began his career flying FA-18 Hornet jets for the Marine Corps and now spends his days testing new systems and software for the Hornet and Superhornet as an operational test director with the Navy’s Air Test and Evaluation Squadron Nine in China Lake, California.
So it’s no surprise that Barton has opted to pursue graduate studies via Distance Education. Barton currently is enrolled in the master’s program in systems engineering offered by the Department of Engineering Management, Information and Systems.
Barton says he selected the Lyle School's program for two reasons: He was looking for a systems engineering program from a highly regarded university, and the distance education system at SMU's Lyle School was highly recommended by some of his colleagues. “They were right,” Barton says. “The staff and faculty have been fantastic!”
Barton, who holds an undergraduate degree in aerospace engineering from the Naval Academy, says he hopes his graduate studies will give him a better grounding in the multitude of statistics the military uses to evaluate systems and a better background in statistical analysis for follow-up on tests. He also would also like to develop a good understanding of how to justify the quantity of testing the military does on systems to prove or disprove their suitability for the military.
Barton says he might like to pursue a career in systems engineering when he leaves the Marine Corps, but for now he has another goal in mind: consideration for NASA’s astronaut program.
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