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U student veteran Cory Boren is using his eight years of experience as a sonar technician in the U.S. Navy to help him become a great engineer.

Cory Boren is what is known in modern nomenclature as a “math wizard.” Serving for eight years as a sonar technician in the U.S. Navy and traveling around the world, from Norway to Panama to Bahrain, he used trigonometry and other complicated calculations to determine the speed and course of submarines and their contacts. While aboard Navy submarines, Boren made quick decisions about where his ship would go and how it would behave, which developed a deep sense of duty and personal responsibility for the safety and well-being of his crewmates.

“I understood that every action I did, even though I didn’t think about it, directly affected and impacted other people’s lives as well,” he said.

This conscientiousness stayed with Boren when he left the military three years ago to start his electrical engineering degree at the University of Utah. He helps other students when they need it, especially at the Veterans Support Center on campus, and strives to excel in school.

Now, acing his classes is part of that sense of duty to others. Having spent nearly a decade serving his country, Boren qualified for the GI Bill that gives him a full-ride scholarship to earn his undergraduate degree. He is grateful for this support and intends to maximize his efforts.

“The United States taxpayer is invested in me,” he said. “It’s my responsibility to make good on their investment.”

Boren assures that he has the time management skills necessary to take full loads every semester and not drown in work because he learned how to be efficient and effective while at sea. He also knows that hard work can be intensely rewarding.

“School is equally as hard as the Navy, but I understand the payout and the accomplishment after working hard at something for years.”

After he graduates, Boren will combine his engineering design skills with the practical experience he garnered while using and fixing gear in the Navy. On submarines, Boren had to learn how to repair equipment.

“If I’m in the middle of the ocean and the sonar breaks, I can’t call a civilian contractor.”

Boren said this hands-on proficiency is what many engineers lack, and a disconnect has formed between designers and how their design is used. As a professional engineer, Boren will bridge this gap by marrying his civilian design knowledge and manual military experience.

Boren plans to leverage his unique abilities to land a great job in engineering, but in which city or for which company, he doesn’t yet know.

“The military has shown me that we’re constantly adapting, learning and evolving, and you have to be open to that in life as well.”

Nonetheless, his invaluable time in the military and hard-won degree will certainly open up a lot of doors for his professional path. “I’m excited to find out what those doors are,” he said.