Nathan Horswill started the fall semester in the first year of a Masters in Interdisciplinary Statistics and Operations Research, with a focus on Machine Learning. Nathan just got out of the Army in May after having served 8 years as a Field Artillery Officer, Most recently as a Company Commander in Fort Bliss Texas.
Rose is a first year PhD student in the History Program, with a focus on Ottoman History during and after WWI. She is active duty Army and after 2 years here, Nathan and Rose plan to will move to West Point where she will teach Military History to the cadets there.
What is the biggest difference you’ve noticed in transitioning from military life to civilian life?
Nate: For me, it’s that I keep using military time and people have no idea what I’m talking about.
Rose: It’s getting out of the mindset of being responsible for a company of 100+ Soldiers and focusing entirely on myself. It’s a big relief, and has changed the way I approach responsibilities in graduate school.
What is something you wish you had known before moving here?
The gyms at Chapel Hill are not quite as good as we are used to on military bases, which was very surprising. Fitness is a huge part of our lives and the Rec center sometimes has off hours, which has made consistency with workouts tough.
What is an important lesson that you learned in the military that has helped you in grad school?
Time management has been a critical advantage for both of us. I think this stems from having a disciplined routine and setting boundaries. Getting up in the morning, working out, finishing assignments early enough to proofread them all stem from the mindset that “early is on time, on time is late.”
What made you choose UNC/NC when deciding on a program/place to study?
Nate: The program that I am in has a very specific focus and a particular approach to that focus. There’s a lot of new “Data Analytics” Masters Programs in Universities around the US, and I wanted to ensure my education was rooted in mathematical modeling and statistical methods. For Data Scientists, coding is time consuming, but the math behind the analysis is the hard part.
Rose: The History program at UNC Chapel Hill is one of the best in the country and the faculty here provide excellent support to military officers working towards their doctorate on an Army timeline.