Julia Coxen, U-M Industrial and Operations Engineering (IOE) PhD candidate and an active-duty colonel in the U.S. Army, has been selected to serve as a PUSMA (professor U.S. military academy) and deputy head of the Department of Systems Engineering at West Point.
“This selection would not have been possible without the support of my advisor, Professor Guikema, our lab, my cohort of fellow PhD students, and, most importantly, the stellar reputation of IOE,” said Coxen. “My family and I feel overwhelmingly lucky to be surrounded by such an esteemed group of professionals, and we hope to take a little bit of Michigan with us to West Point next summer. Go Blue!”
Coxen, her husband Craig, and their two children Grace and Gabriel will move to West Point’s New York location in the summer of 2021 after she completes her studies at U-M.
Established in 1802, West Point is the oldest of America’s five service academies. The Academy has several famous alumni, who are referred to as part of “The Long Gray Line.” Included in this prestigious group are Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and Ulysses S. Grant, famous generals such as George S. Patton and Douglas MacArthur, and over 75 recipients of the Medal of Honor, the most prestigious military decoration in America.
“We are honored to play even a small part of that rich tradition of excellence,” Coxen said about her new positions at West Point. “This is the apex of the many positions that would not have been possible without the mentorship of my many leaders, peers, and NCOs to whom I am utterly grateful.”
When Coxen began her doctoral studies at the University of Michigan, she had already established a successful career in the military. In 1998, she became a distinguished military graduate of the ROTC program at the University of Pennsylvania, obtaining a Bachelor of Applied Science in Environmental Systems Engineering as well as a minor in Music. She was commissioned into the Signal Corps and served tours in Korea, Afghanistan (Operation ENDURING FREEDOM), and many other parts of the Middle East.
During her return to Korea, Coxen was selected as a junior rotating faculty member for the Department of Systems Engineering at West Point and obtained two master’s degrees from Columbia University in preparation to teach and course-direct classes in various subjects. After her tour in the Department of Systems Engineering, she was selected as an academy professor based on her remarkable efforts across the various domains she participated in and went on to serve back in the operational Army before coming to U-M.
Coxen’s dissertation focuses on research towards combating sex trafficking on a global scale through risk analysis and data-driven approaches. Earlier this year, she received the prestigious Omar N. Bradley Officer Research Fellowships in Mathematics. Her research interests include risk analysis, machine learning, anomaly detection, and network analysis.