CLAIM TO FAME: A consultant to the U.S. Navy, Carolyn Ceder Root ’77 has worked in anti-submarine warfare for 30 years and is an expert in underwater acoustic simulation. “I’m the ultimate trouble shooter,” she says. “Through simulations, I create the environments and conditions that our war fighters will have to successfully navigate in real-time situations. My work prepares them to be battle ready and successful.”
THE ACCIDENTAL ENGINEER: Root calls her educational journey, which took her down some unusual paths for a woman, a “random walk,” at least initially. She enjoyed Professor Otto Raths’ Physics 101, so she stuck with it and became a physics major. “When I was in my senior year, Dr. Raths asked me where my recommendations were. I asked him, ‘What recommendations?’ He replied, ‘The ones for graduate school.’ I told him that I didn’t have the money to go. He told me they would pay my way — tuition, room, board, and salary. That was how I ventured off into the world of graduate education.” She completed a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering (fluid dynamics) at Catholic University in 1991.
IF IT AIN’T BROKE: A new submarine combat system uses control screen formats Root developed in the 1980s. “It was nice to think that in 20 years they hadn’t found a better way to do it.”
WHAT SHE IS WILLING TO LOSE SLEEP FOR: “I lived in Harborview 1201 as a freshman. It was a long wait for the elevators for 10 a.m. classes, so I got into the routine of going to breakfast to avoid the rush. It was the best meal served at the cafeteria all day — they did eggs on a short-order basis and the bacon was always done just right.”
HER BEST INVESTMENT: “I believe that getting an education is one of the positive selfish things you can do for yourself. It’s something that no one can take away. The value of your education doesn’t evaporate in a bad market. It’s not lost in a divorce. And it says something about being able to stay focused and make a commitment.”