Robert J. Stukes
'09 B.S. Mathematics & '12 M.S. Mathematics


By Karin Grennan


Portrait of Robert J. Stukes next to an American flagOverseeing 156 weapons and combat-system programs valued at $14 billion for the U.S. Navy means that CSU Channel Islands alumnus Robert J. Stukes is perpetually in research mode. The subject could be missile launchers, software, sensors, or ammunition.

“Every day is something different — a new challenge, something I don't know anything about that I get to learn by researching and talking to subject-matter experts,” said Stukes, a chief logistician of the Program Executive Office for Integrated Warfare Systems in Washington, D.C.

Stukes got started on research while studying Mathematics at CSUCI.

“During my M.S. program, my professors really drove research — it’s a combination of what you know and what others know — then sharing it,” Stukes said. “The Math and Computer Science faculty, aside from teaching me the material, taught me how to think critically, ask questions and collaborate with peers to produce comprehensive analysis and drive optimal solutions.”

Stukes attended CSUCI because it offered individualized attention close to his family in Thousand Oaks. He planned to teach high school math, so he completed an emphasis on Education with his bachelor’s degree in Mathematics. But doing internships at high schools caused him to switch his focus to older students, so he earned his master’s degree while teaching undergraduate Mathematics at CSUCI.

After completing the graduate program, he served on the adjunct faculty at multiple colleges for two years before he began working full-time for the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Port Hueneme as an operations research analyst. He used his math and computer science skills to develop cost-benefit models for air defense radar products and was part of the 2017 Naval Sea Systems Command Logistics Team of the Year.

Stukes, who moved to Washington D.C. in 2017 and welcomed a baby daughter in 2022, now advocates for surface weapons and systems to Department of Defense leadership and helps request funding from Congress. While guest lecturing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and presenting at conferences have been some of his proudest moments, his most fulfilling work has been making it past roadblocks posed by government bureaucracy.

“If anybody is in my way, I do everything I can to `bust through’ and rally others to my cause because it’s the right thing to do,” Stukes said. “That is why I go to work every day. It’s not about me. It’s about making sure that our U.S. armed services members have the best product available to defend the country, and that it works when they need it.”

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