Programmed for Success

by Sarah Bartlett Borich ’02 - Cedarville, OH

Jud Neer ’01 currently works for Northrop Grumman Missions Systems in the research laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (Dayton, Ohio). There he writes experimental software for use in embedded avionics systems. “My day-to-day activities at work are quite a bit different than anything I ever did in a class at Cedarville,” he said, “but it would be impossible for me to do them without the education I received.”

The West Liberty, Ohio native explained that he left the University with a “toolbox chock full” of the skills he needed to succeed in a variety of computer-programming related fields. In his career so far, Jud has worked with technologies such as terrain-following radars, digital data link radios, electronic-mapping software, and flight-simulation algorithms. This summer, he’ll be participating in a flight test for some of his latest work.

Jud credits many of his experiences at Cedarville with helping him to prepare for his exciting career. The double major in math and computer science was essential, of course, but he also looks back at his college years as a time of great personal growth in the areas of self-confidence, assertiveness, and leadership. “A big part of that was the encouragement and support — and occasional kicks in the pants — I received from my professors,” he explained. “The stereotypical ‘computer nerd’ with poor people skills could never survive in my current work environment.”

In addition to his other responsibilities, Jud is currently in the process of patenting a technique he has developed to solve a pressing problem for several military aircraft platforms. He can trace his interest in this project directly back to an assignment he received in a linear algebra course at Cedarville. Instead of solving the assigned problem using traditional methods, he wrote a computer program to calculate the answer. His first “cut” took several days to complete the task, but with his professor’s encouragement, he continued working on his program until it could solve the problem within five seconds. “After seeing firsthand the power and value of well-written software, I knew for sure I wanted to be a computer scientist,” he recalled.

Besides the opportunities to use his talents and enjoy his work, Jud sees his career as a platform for glorifying the Lord. “A large part of what I do is giving the military the tools it needs to neutralize those who wish to do harm and to deliver aid to those who are being harmed,” he said. “I view my work as a tiny part of participating along with God in ‘defending the fatherless and oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more’ (Psalm 10:18).”

Jud also takes the role of a Christian computer scientist very seriously, noting that Dr. Dixon’s “quality stamped all over it” line has stuck in his mind over the years. “I believe that God would have me be the absolute best I can be,” he stated. “I aim for nothing short of perfection in everything I do.”

Jud and his wife, Sara Schenk Neer ’01, live in Xenia, Ohio with daughters Olivia (3) and Amelia (1). They are actively involved in Emmanuel Baptist Church.