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Checking In With: Capt. Marcus Catchpole, U.S. Air Force

November 7, 2016
Marcus Catchpole portrait
U.S. Air Force Capt. Marcus Catchpole

U.S. Air Force Capt. Marcus Catchpole is building a great career, thanks to a University of Wyoming education.

Originally from Wheatland, Wyo., he now is stationed in Colorado Springs, Colo., and is active duty in the military. He earned a degree in electrical engineering from UW in 2011.

He is a flight commander in a recruiting squadron that covers 450,000 square miles from northern Wyoming to Texas and is directly responsible for 12 noncommissioned officers under his command. His job includes overseeing operations and medical processing for a squadron of 80 recruiters. His squadron enlisted and medically processed more than 1,000 people into the Air Force in the past year.

After getting his degree and commissioning as a second lieutenant, he went to Hill Air Force Base in Utah. He used his education to support the F-4 Phantom, A-10 Warthog, and F-16 Falcon airframes. 

"The University of Wyoming and the Air Force ROTC program prepared me for a competitive career," he says. "As someone who is now interviewing officer applicants with bachelor's degrees, I know how valuable an engineering degree from UW is to potential employers. In my time in the Air Force, I've worked with other engineers who have graduated from the University of California, Berkley to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and I am every bit as capable and productive as my peers."

He now capitalizes on his engineering degree in a managerial environment, utilizing a method of "data-driven" decision making. The rigorous math education from UW's engineering program makes him adept at gathering, understanding, and leveraging data, as well as explaining it to his supervisors.

“Marcus did a great job of balancing the demands of the electrical engineering curriculum and all of his ROTC commitments,” CEAS Associate Dean Steve Barrett.

In his spare time, Catchpole volunteers at high schools in Colorado Springs to help teachers from sixth-grade through high school teach robotics. He uses Arduinos in his lesson plans, utilizing Open Source Educational Robotics.

Recently, Catchpole was competitively selected by the Air Force to pursue a master's degree on a full-time basis with pay and teach computer science at the Air Force Academy. He will begin the degree program in 2017 and start teaching, after a three-year tour, in 2022. 

He hasn't forgotten about his alma mater, attending a University of Wyoming career fair in late September with health professionals from the Air Force. His wife Jenny, a Cheyenne native, is a CEAS graduate, earning a degree in computer engineering in 2010.

Even as he continues into an academic profession that may include different universities, Catchpole says he'll "never stop bleeding Brown and Gold."

"When I was in the CEAS, the faculty was setting a goal to have an engineering program second to none in the United States," he says. "That's an incredibly high goal, but when I reflect on my time at UW, the faculty were impressive and pushed me to the limit of what I could learn in a few short years. I know and have worked with engineering graduates from all over the United States. The CEAS at UW will not limit any ambitious student."

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