Gonzalo Ciurlizza

Gonzalo Ciurlizza photo

The academic programs at Norwich mold their students into technical experts who become strong leaders serving in their respective fields.

Q: “Tell us about yourself.” 
A: “I was born in Lima, Peru, and my family immigrated to the United States when I was younger. I currently live in Northern Virginia with my wife. My brother, his wife, and two adorable sons live in the Horse Capital of the World, Lexington, Kentucky. My parents lived in Northern Virginia for many years but now retired to Miami, Florida's warm weather and pristine beaches. I have several interests; my wife and I like to try new local coffee shops across the D.C. metro area and on trips. We enjoy going to new restaurants and sampling food from different ethnicities. We are big hikers and like trying new hiking trails on the weekends. I also enjoy watching my favorite soccer team, Manchester United, play on weekends.”

Q: “Please describe briefly your professional experience and current employment.” 
A: “I have a diverse background that doesn't concentrate on one field. I spent several years in sales, design, recruiting, national security, and aerospace industries. My current industry is aerospace. I am employed by Boeing Defense, Space & Security, a division of The Boeing Company, as a Systems Engineer. I enjoy working on designing, integrating, and managing complex systems for our customers. It is challenging and personally rewarding.”

Q: “What was your motivation for pursuing your degree?” 
A: “My motivation started when my family decided to immigrate to the United States and travel approximately 3650 miles from Lima, Peru, so my father could obtain his MBA and search for a better life for all of us. That's when I learned what the power of education could do for someone. There came a pivotal moment in my life when I was seeking a new purpose in life; therefore, I changed fields a few years back. I was looking to add a more technical base to my arsenal of skills. I wanted to increase my opportunities for advancement, increase my salary, obtain holistic systems knowledge and statistic skills, and achieve a personal dream of supporting space exploration.”

Q: “What are your future professional plans?” 
A: “I want to grow within The Boeing Company and move up. I aim to move up the ranks into a Chief Engineer or Managerial position and continue applying the knowledge I learned at Norwich University.”

Q: “Why did you choose Norwich's information systems program?” 
A: “Norwich's dedication to helping adult learners continue their education and giving them the support they need was an essential factor for me in wanting to [attend Norwich]. I learned about the university while researching online programs, and the name kept coming up as one of the best-value institutions in the United States. What makes Norwich unique is that it continues to follow the mission of Alden Partridge in creating useful citizens. The academic programs at Norwich mold their students into technical experts who become strong leaders serving in their respective fields. They prepare you for life outside the classroom. The school's history and legacy are what drew me to Norwich. When joining the Norwich family, you know instantly that you are a part of something special. The main reason I chose to pursue an online program over a traditional on-campus degree was flexibility. I work a demanding job where I am on call. Having the flexibility to complete assignments and quizzes on my time was paramount.”

Q: “Prior to beginning your courses, what were some of your expectations for an online degree program?” 
A: “I expected the professors to be distant and the classes less stimulating than my in-person undergraduate courses. I found Norwich's online courses and professors to be the exact opposite! Professors took time out of their days and weekends to help explain complex statistical concepts and systems knowledge to me. I also learned that to expand my learning and meet Norwich's and my professor's challenges, I would need to be more resourceful and bring outside research and work experience into my classroom.”

Q: “What is one piece of advice you would give to future students enrolling in one of Norwich's online programs?” 
A: “The topics you are taking are complex and challenging. Many of you have intense work schedules and busy family lives. You cannot solve every problem independently, and asking for help is okay. The Norwich family is top-class and wants you to succeed. When you find yourself stuck, feeling alone, unsure if you understand a topic, reach out to them.”

Q: “What has been your biggest personal or professional success since starting your degree?” 
A: “While working on my degree, I realized that I loved learning. Something I never felt when I was completing my undergraduate degree. My professors at Norwich feed my learning obsession sometimes by giving me advanced lessons outside of the coursework to challenge me further. I loved it! It was fun to take these new skills and then go to work the next day and apply them to projects we were working on. I saw tangible results, often leading me to more challenging projects.”

Q: “Please tell us about a time in which you could put your knowledge gained in the classroom to work immediately at your job.” 
A: “I was taking Big Data Processing and Cloud Services, and we had just learned access controls and who should be provisioned with what roles. At work, we were discussing controls and who should get access to specific information. The moment I could apply knowledge from the classroom and immediately secure our systems properly in the workforce was when I felt the power of my education working for me, and I was eager to learn more.”

Q: “What aspects of your Norwich experience will you carry most strongly with you?” 
A: “Struggling to learn a new concept will happen, which is okay. What is not okay is not asking for help when in need. It is okay to say, ‘Hey, I don't understand this. Could you help me, and are you available for a phone call?’”

Q: “Is there anything else you would like to tell us about your experiences at Norwich or the impact of Norwich on your life?” 
A: “Everywhere my wife and I go, we run into Norwich Alumni or families interested in Norwich. We proudly wear our Norwich apparel and have been stopped at airport security, the local supermarket, work, and once on an airplane by an alum from the class of '53. My wife and I are proud to be Norwich graduates and love the school.”