Julie Wathen

B.S., Physics, Western Kentucky University, May 1997

Name and address of current employer

Kwajalein Range Services on the Reagan Test Site
Kwajalein, Kwajalein Atoll, Republic of the Marshall Islands

Current position

I am ARPA Long Range Tracking and Instrumentation Radar (ALTAIR) Lead System Engineer. In my previous company in the States as a RADAR analyst I simulated missile launch scenarios to analyze how various RADARs would perform search, tracking, discrimination, and handover functions. In my current position I am working as a Test Director for ALTAIR for real test scenarios. I also am involved with daily operations, improvement studies, mission analysis, and general system engineering for the RADAR.

What I got from the WKU Physics and Astronomy department that helps me to be successful in this job

Studying Physics and Math at WKU was a real treasure because of the small class sizes and opportunities to get involved in additional projects. I was able to get to know the faculty well in the Physics department due to the small class sizes and therefore felt more comfortable asking for help. The small classes also inspired a close knit student group that worked hard together to solve problems which is more representative of the working world where teams work together to succeed on tasks and projects.

Tips and advice for someone wanting to pursue a career in my area

A degree in Physics, Electrical Engineering, or related is required. The ability to grasp the big picture when dealing with specific system issues is an important skill that I think my Physics degree prepared me well for. In addition I think it is important to be able to communicate technical issues to both technical and non-technical personnel.

Favorite memory from my time at WKU

Representing WKU at the Universal Dance Association National competition was by far my favorite memory. The squad went to Disney World for the competition and placed 6th in the nation earning a spot on ESPN. I was also really proud and excited to receive the George Page Scholarship with the highest GPA in my graduating class in the Physics Department.

Thanks for asking for my input. I feel fortunate to have gotten involved in this industry and am grateful that I chose Physics as my major so that I can do what I do!

 Last Modified 9/25/14