Getting to know Student Success Advocate Adam Boese

If it's anyone who believes in the art of hard work and dedication to serving the United States it's Adam Boese. Boese is a senior pursuing a Bachelor of Applied Computer Science with a concentration in Cyber Security at the University of South Carolina Aiken. He explained how great it feels to be a part of the Veteran and Military Student Success (VMSS) team as a Student Success Advocate in support of fellow veterans and his journey while serving in the United States Air Force. 

1. When did you realize you wanted to go into programming? 

I wouldn't say I was ever determined to go into programming – nor would I characterize myself as a software developer (what most people think of when they hear programmer). However, understanding how to code is a necessity because it permeates all facets of computing. Whether you're managing a network, setting up infrastructure, automating a process, or querying system logs to investigate a security incident, understanding the various programming languages that allow you to interact with these technologies is a must. As a lifelong tech enthusiast, I think I just picked up programming as a byproduct of being interested in computing.

2. How has being a part of the VMSS (Veteran and Military Student Success) team expanded your growth and opportunities within your field? 

I joined the VMSS towards the end of my first semester at USC Aiken. I feel being a member of their team helped me integrate into the school and provided a sense of camaraderie. Going back to school for my third college degree, there was some apprehension about being in classrooms where the average student was much younger than me. Connecting with other veterans who were in the same boat helped alleviate some of that uncertainty. Being a part of the VMSS has also provided countless opportunities for networking and creating contacts with professionals and decision-makers in my field. I doubt I would be where I am today without the support and encouragement of the VMSS team.

3. Who or what influenced you to want to attend USC Aiken and pursue a Bachelor of Applied Computer Science with a concentration in Cyber Security? 

I was living overseas in Southeast Asia when I decided to go back to school. I've moved constantly my whole life, but always preferred this part of the country. After some research into where jobs in my desired field were concentrated, and finding out that the CSRA is becoming a mini-cyber hub, I felt USC Aiken would be a great fit to help me achieve my academic and professional goals.

4. Who or what inspired you to go into the United States Air Force? 

I come from a military family. My grandfather served in the Korean War, my dad served in the Gulf War, and my brother joined the Navy just before 9/11. During my initial year of college for my first degree, my brother received the call that he was headed to the Persian Gulf in support of the Iraq/Afghanistan war. I'm not sure if it was out of a sense of duty, but joining the military just seemed like the right thing to do at the time. 

5. Where are all the places you've been deployed to while in the USAF (United States Air Force)?

While in the Air Force, I was deployed to Iraq and Qatar a few times. After separating from the USAF, I worked for several years as a Dept. of Defense contractor in the Middle East – spending time in just about every country in that region (Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Gulf states, etc.) and several in Africa (Djibouti, Kenya, Ethiopia).

6. What kind of position did you have at the time? And how has that prepared you for what you're doing now? 

My job in the USAF was in Security Forces, encompassing everything from law enforcement, investigations, and physical security - to disaster response and weapons training. As a defense contractor, I shifted over to information technology - managing systems and networks in support of various wartime efforts. I guess you might say I've now combined the two, merging my background in security and investigations with computer science – making Cybersecurity the natural fit. 

7. What are your top three best moments you will never forget while being here at USC Aiken?

First - I would say just the realization that I can still do this. Before coming to USC Aiken, I had been out of school/college for over ten years. Writing those first few research papers was rough, but after knocking the cobwebs off the old brain, I suppose I've done fairly well academically.  Second - joining the VMSS. Being a part of their team and helping other service members, veterans, and their family members reach their academic goals has made my time at USC Aiken so much more enriching. Third – being inducted into and subsequently selected to be the President of the Veteran's Honor Society at USC Aiken. Motivating to excel academically and recognition for our military-connected cohort has been an honor. 

8. What are some moments you'll never forget while serving the USAF?

There are so many, it's hard to choose. I remember sitting on top of several hundred-foot-tall sand dunes in the middle of the night, holding a machine gun and night vision goggles, and scanning the horizon for movement. I once rappelled out of a Chinook helicopter with South Korean Special Forces outside of Daegu. I recall on my nineteenth birthday, upon arriving at work early in the morning, I was informed I had deployment orders (alone, not with a team). My supervisor handed me a plane ticket leaving for "Doha" in two days and assigned orders to some place called "Camp Snoopy". After the initial simultaneous feeling of terror and excitement that I'd be going to war wore off, I asked where that was. He had no idea – nor did anyone else. This was early in the Iraq/Afghan war and military installation names weren't common knowledge, and neither was the existence of a small country in the Middle East called Qatar. I boarded my flight days later with absolutely no idea where I was going or how I would get to this "Camp Snoopy." It all worked out in the end.

9. What is something you love to do in your spare time?

I try to hit the gym whenever I can – weightlifting is the best way I've found to de-stress after a long day. I enjoy woodworking – just finished a nightstand a few weeks ago. I also love spending time with my wife, Anne, and cats, Kimchi and Kimbap.

For more information, contact Angela Saxon,