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Right Place at the Right Time

Javier Ruiz has been the Site Director for Outreach Advanced Programs in Hulburt Field, Florida since September 2010. This location is home to the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), an elite group of men and women, many of whom are Air Force Academy graduates, who are highly trained and educated in unconventional warfare. This group includes special tactics (similar to Navy Seals), combat controllers, search and rescue, psychological operations, intelligence surveillance, gunship air support and counterterrorism.

A retired officer in the Air Force and former instructor at the School of Aerospace Medicine, Ruiz has a passion for teaching and education. Many of the students in the AFSOC program are driven to further their knowledge, and as such about 75 percent are enrolled in OU’s MAIR program.

“The College of International Studies’ leadership has done a stellar job creating a vibrant and relevant program,” Ruiz said. “Students love the course content since it is well matched to worldwide locations that they are involved with, and it brings a non-military perspective of current affairs which expands their knowledge base.”

Ruiz said he knows he is in the right place and doing the right thing, feeling a sense of accomplishment in his work. “I am very happy to see that in the days that advanced degrees are no longer required for military officers to be promoted, the program is on a resurgence mode. It is enjoyable to hear the feedback my students provide, how this program adds a new perspective to their careers. But it is even more enjoyable when I take them from application to graduation.”


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