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Army veteran earns information science degree and new job at Fort Jackson

Things have been falling neatly into place for Charles Rodriquez in the past 18 months — he started working on a bachelor’s degree in information science at the University of South Carolina and completed an internship earlier this fall that has paved the way for a new job he’ll begin after graduation in December.

The active-duty Army veteran says his experience from start to finish at Carolina has been amazing. “My adviser here was insanely helpful, working with me over the phone and by email to get me accepted into the program. Dr. Lewis and Dr. Lankes worked out my courses and cognate so that I could apply my previous baccalaureate work and finish up here in a year and a half.”

A chief warrant officer III, Rodriquez started his Army career at age 17 as a cavalry scout, a critical armored reconnaissance position that placed him among the first waves of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He later switched to a human resources position and completed two more deployments.

Rodriquez’s new skills in information science proved valuable during his recent internship in which he conducted an analysis of the training system infrastructure of the Adjutant General School at Fort Jackson. Rodriquez will serve as the systems manager for the school, which educates and provides administrative specialists for the Army.

“The Army has plenty of IT people and plenty of cyber security staff but not a lot of people who understand information science — data savviness is not the same as information savviness,” Rodriquez says. “I’ve learned a lot at USC. When Dr. [David] Lankes taught my introduction to information science course, he took complex theories and explained them to us in a way that just amazed me.”

A new degree and a new job aren’t the only things falling into place for Rodriquez. He and his wife are already planning for a new life when he retires from the Army. Ventures in real estate and consulting are on the chalkboard along with an eventual move to Arizona. But first things first — there’s a commencement ceremony to attend in December and a new baby on the way in February.

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