SEAS Alumna Serves Navy and GW

When U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander Alex Greene, SEAS BS ’01, finished a military assignment in Afghanistan, she jumped at the option presented for her next duty station: Return to GW as an assistant professor of Naval Science for the Navy ROTC department.

Since 2011, Alex has been teaching at GW, where she also serves as an academic advisor to more than 40 NROTC freshmen, as well as the NROTC admissions contact.

Alex found her groove teaching naval science , and her passion for the subject earned her the 2012 “Most Outstanding NROTC Instructor of the Year” national award from The National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA).

On top of all that, Alex is currently an MBA student. But being busy at GW isn’t new to this active alumna.

Alex first arrived at GW in 1997 to study civil engineering. Engineering came naturally—Alex felt this technical degree was the best path to achieve her lifelong dream of becoming a military pilot.  As the Navy offered the greatest opportunities to fly, compared to the Air Force, Alex applied for and received an NROTC scholarship.

All four years of her undergraduate experience at GW were full to the brim—Alex not only attended class and completed military training, but also ran Varsity Cross Country and Track, serving as captain for both teams.

After graduation in 2001, Alex was off to flight school in Texas.  That fall, the September 11th attacks occurred. Suddenly, the gravity of serving her country truly hit home.

Alex received her aviator wings in March 2003 and was immediately deployed to a tactical squadron.  As a strike-flight aviator piloting an F/A-18F Super Hornet, Alex executed more than 200 air combat missions in support of ground troops in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan).  Overall, she logged more than 1250 flight hours and 375 carrier arrested landings.

Her next assignments brought Alex back to DC, working for the Chief of Naval Personnel and then for the Navy’s Office of Irregular Warfare.  In 2010, with the military’s shortage in key fields during two wars, Alex returned to Afghanistan as a civil engineer.

“The Army needed officers with engineering training to augment the shortage of personnel serving in the region,” she says.  “Even though I was a Naval Officer and had never practiced as a professional engineer, the core skills I learned at GW enabled me to perform confidently throughout the duration of the deployment with the Army, building schools, health clinics, roads, bridges and basic infrastructure for the Afghan people.”

Alex Dietrich-Greene on duty in Afghanistan
Alex Dietrich-Greene on duty in Afghanistan

After an intense year in a war zone, Alex was relieved to return safely to DC and to GW, in her current role. She was happy to be reunited with her husband, Michael, who is also a Colonial.

Now a professor, Alex feels her military duty and time at GW gives her a unique “perspective of experience” to share with the GW community.  Alex also emphasizes GW’s one-of-a-kind location to her students.

“We take our midshipmen over to the Pentagon for professional development, and host admirals, generals, policy makers and Wounded Warriors from Bethesda/Walter Reed in our Naval Science classrooms,” Alex explains.  “Where else is that possible?”

Alex also advises students to “reach out to the network of alumni and find a mentor, and gain the value of all the experiences of those who have been there/done that.”

In addition to her work at GW, Alex volunteers in the local community with youth athletic and mentoring programs. But she still prioritizes her GW community:

“I didn’t graduate and consider my time at GW over, “she says.  “I have continued to return to GW in multiple capacities, whenever I could find an excuse or invitation to go to a Colonial sporting event, host a dinner for students at my home, speak to a class, or come back full-time, as I am now.”

No matter where her next Navy assignment takes Alex—her job at GW ends in 2014—armed with her MBA, this future double alumna will stay connected.

“I consider myself a Colonial through-and-through,” Alex explains. “I’m always looking for opportunities to support and improve GW!”

–Buthaina Shukri

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