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Thomas Henning

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'66 Political Science | Former Director, Training and Development, IBM and Lockheed Martin | Haymarket, VA
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Thomas Henning

Liberal Arts Major: Political Science

Liberal Arts Minor: Russian Area Studies

Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA

Current Location: Haymarket, VA

What enrichment activities did you participate in as a student?

I was a Dean of Students staff member, serving as a resident counselor/area coordinator in North Halls and completed an internship in the Office of International Student Affairs. I also earned my master's in education degree from Penn State. 

What was your first job after graduating from Penn State?

My first job was at IBM in East Fishkill, New York, working in the Components Division. Later, I transferred to IBM Federal Systems in Manassas, Virginia. I rose through IBM to become an integrated logistics senior engineer. I taught sonar to the U.S. Navy Submarine Service for Trident submarine and Los Angeles class. I retired from IBM in 1996 and then later retired from Lockheed Martin.

What were your favorite classes and who were your favorite faculty members?

Political Science classes taught by Dr. Ruth Silva, Dr. Brewster, and others; Russian classes taught by Dr. Vernon Aspaturian, Dr. Jan Pryblya, and others. The lessons I learned enabled me to succeed later in life as an IBM lobbyist and executive working on international business contracts. 

How did your liberal arts education and skills prepare you for life after graduation?

Political Science was a valuable major. Knowledge about the workings of the federal government prepared me to be a lobbyist for IBM Corporate Headquarters near the end of my career. Russian Area Studies prepared me to provide a presentation in Russian language in Moscow in 1989. In general, I became a lifelong learner, traveled widely throughout Europe, Russia, and Asia. I also authored and published five books.

What networking advice would you share with current students?

As a veteran of the U.S Air Force, I later joined the American Legion and currently support The Warrior Retreat at Bull Run in Haymarket, Virginia. Networking with former veterans and others has assisted me throughout my career. I would recommend social networking to widen your horizon and enable you to obtain advancement opportunities and societal contributions.

What role have mentors played in your career progression?

Mentors at IBM were advantageous in advancing my career.

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