Jing Li-Kole ’11 is an operations research analyst for the United States Department of Navy’s Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) based in Port Hueneme Division (PHD), Calif. In fall 2017, she received the Navy’s Art Diaz Award, honoring staff members who personify teamwork. Li-Kole holds a bachelor’s degree in finance with a minor in applied statistics from SUNY Oswego, and a master’s in accountancy from Simon School of Business at the University of Rochester.
Please share your journey to becoming an award-winning staff member for the U.S. Department of Navy.
As a young girl growing up in rural China, I dreamed of the opportunity to attain higher education in the United States. I was able to achieve my dream because grants, scholarships and campus employment covered much of my educational expenses. I felt it was my duty to give back to the country that had given me so much by becoming a civil servant.
While at the University of Rochester I was selected to join the FBI’s honor intern program. Working closely with the dedicated men and women of the bureau reinforced my commitment to work in the public sector. Upon graduation, I was hired by the Department of Navy at NSWC PHD. Without hesitation, my husband and I packed our car and drove across the country to start our new life in California.
How did Oswego help prepare you for your job?
I design and perform analytical studies using data mining, optimization, statistics and mathematical modeling to develop solutions that help the Navy operate more efficiently and cost-effectively. My applied statistics minor provided me with necessary statistical theories and methodologies to analyze complex information, simplify it then succinctly communicate results to executive management. My B.S. in finance gave me a solid foundation for understanding life-cycle cost estimate practices. These practices are the key to acquiring products and services at the most reasonable cost to the taxpayer.
What are the most rewarding parts of your position?
The challenge. My projects can vary from continuous efforts to improve planned maintenance onboard our vessels, annual program budgeting and department staffing optimization. Every day is a new challenge; in fact, every day is day one!
“When people ask me where I come from I say,
‘I was born in China, but Oswego is my hometown.’”
— Jing Li-Kole ’11
When you reflect on your time at SUNY Oswego, what comes to mind for you?
When I think of Oswego, I think of the people. The people at the college and in the community are friendly, caring and open-minded. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the people who have impacted my life. They have taught me about love and compassion, and continue to inspire me to be a better person.
Your husband is also an Oswego alum! How did you meet?
My husband and I met while working on a cruise ship. The immigration process and ship contracts kept us apart for nearly two years. Eventually, we married in New York City then relocated to Oswego to pursue our bachelor degrees. My husband (Matthew Kole ’12, B.A. Information Science) also works for the Navy, as a database administrator and software developer.
I understand that you enjoy cooking. What do you like to cook?
My husband is a former chef and food is an important part of Chinese culture. We love to cook together with the fresh ingredients found at our local farmer’s markets and our home garden. Nowadays, our favorite thing to prepare is baby food for our infant son, Jackson.
What does the future hold for you?
One of my favorite quotes from Confucius is, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” I intend on remaining with NSWC PHD until retirement. My job with the Navy is challenging, rewarding and gives me the opportunity to serve my country.
—Eileen Moran Crandall