In honor of Veterans Day, we had the pleasure of speaking with Major Nick Uhorchak ’04. Major Uhorchak’s 14-year military career has seen him stationed as far away as Iraq—plus stints in bases around the U.S., where he has built a career as a data scientist.
Most recently, Major Uhorchak has been stationed at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, the home of the Army’s Military Intelligence Corps, where he works as a data scientist in the Network Enterprise Technology Command, running the Army’s networking system. In this position, he conducts network and vulnerability analysis.
Prior to Fort Huachuca, Major Uhorchak was stationed for three years at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, working in Special Operations Command. In that function, he was involved in budget forecasting, as well as command data office modeling and analysis problems to support the command.
Between the years of 2009 to 2011, Major Uhorchak was deployed twice to Iraq. First for Operation Iraqi Freedom in Amarah, and then for Operation New Dawn in Mosul. After being transferred to Fort Riley, Kansas, he was then deployed to Kuwait where he commanded a mechanized infantry company.
“Our job in Kuwait was as a standby unit, prepared to support the needs of the Army in the region. We generally spent our time training on infantry tasks, to maintain our readiness,” he said. Major Uhorchak values the friendships he made in the Middle East and stays in touch with some of his NCO’s (Non-Commissioned Officers).
Having grown up in a military family, it seemed like a natural transition for Major Uhorchak to follow in the same footsteps. He attended the United States Military Academy West Point where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Information technology. He then moved to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio where he received an M.S. in Operations Research from the Air Force Institute of Technology. Next year, he will transition to being a full-time student, where he will begin an Industrial Engineering Ph.D. program at the University of Arkansas and is looking forward to making the move with his wife Stacey, his four children, Caroline (11), Avery (9), Lawson (5), Mason (3), and his English springer spaniel, Trooper.
Read the Q & A below to learn more about Major Uhorchak’s military background and his memories of Berkshire.
What triggered your aspirations to pursue a career in the military?
It wasn’t until junior year at Berkshire that I really knew I wanted to go to West Point, but it was a natural progression, following in my father’s footsteps. I grew up living in West Point and was around the military my entire childhood.
Can you describe your work as a data scientist in the U.S. Army?
I’ve had an interesting run in this job, working on things from predictive models to simple analysis of small data sets. It really depends on what job/location within the Army you are doing, some are big data (my current job at NETCOM), some are purely analysis with smaller data, some aren’t data science jobs at all.
In what ways did your Berkshire experience influence your professional life?
I think that Berkshire, being a boarding school, really helped prepare me to attend West Point. A lot of new cadets show up, and it’s their first time away from home, whereas I was used to that. It also helped me understand the importance of mentorship. I had some great teachers at Berkshire, ones that helped mentor me beyond the classroom, and it’s something that I’ve taken away and continue to espouse in the Army.
What are your fondest memories of your time under the Mountain?
Wing Wednesday at the dining facility, hands down! But I loved going to sporting events, when not playing myself, such a great atmosphere, and supportive student body. I had some great times just hanging out with friends in Memorial dorm as well.
What advice would you give students and alumni who might be interested in a career in the military?
There are so many different opportunities if you are considering a career in the military. From the military academies to ROTC and beyond, there are quite a few possibilities for funded undergrad education, as well as civilian opportunities through things like the SMART scholarship program as well. I’ve made it a full career, and the opportunities it has provided—a master’s degree, and now a Ph.D., are amazing. Beyond the initial commitment to a basic branch (infantry, armor… so on), there are a lot of diverse opportunities.