Alumni Tale: Matthew Leonard ’97 ’03G

What did you study at UNH?

Theater (BA), Computer Science (MS)

What were you doing 1 year out of college?

I found myself working for Boeing in Mesa, Arizona. After the tech bubble burst in 2001, it was not a great time to graduate with a degree in Computer Science, job wise.

What were you doing 5 years out of college?

At 5:30am on Christmas Day in 2008, I found myself landing in Kandahar to support the Marine Corps‘s 3rd Regiment. These four months changed my life. I wrote a new personnel tracking system, while an occasional rocket fell nearby. The Marines dubbed me a “combat software engineer” for coding while under enemy fire.

What were you doing 10 years out of college?

In 2012 and 2013 I was back out in Afghanistan working for Palantir Technologies, writing new integration techniques for their intelligence data on Helmand province. Even a decade later, principles I learned in Kingsbury helped me in my craft of writing robust code.

What are you doing now?

Today, I am part of an amazing engineering team writing law enforcement response software at Facebook.

How do you feel your time at UNH has had an impact on where you are today?

My first job was as a Satellite Instrument Operator on the Comptel Gamma Ray Observatory in Morse Hall. This opportunity helped me foster my curiosity of how software managed and visualized data, something I am still working on today (though at a massive scale) at Facebook.

Why do you believe in UNH?

UNH provided me with a great education, from exploring an interest in theater, to building satellite software, to finding a novel means to render marching tetrahedron graphics. UNH helped me become who I am today.