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School of Public and International Affairs

U.S. Army Lead Software Engineer Earns B.A. via NC State Online

2023 will be a memorable year for Salem Ezz, a U.S. Army Lead Software Engineer working at the Marne Innovation Center in Fort Stewart, Georgia.

Photo By: Army Sgt. Maxine Baen, XVIII Airborne Corps Public Affairs
Salem Ezz receiving his Meritous Service Medal for winning Dragon’s Lair 8 innovation challenge.

In March, Ezz was awarded a Meritorious Service Medal. By inventing a 3D-printed device to measure mold in the barrack, Ezz and colleague Army 1st Lt. Chris Aliperti were named winners of the Dragon’s Lair 8 Innovation Challenge. This innovation has made a positive impact for service members.


The Marne Innovations program identifies current capability gaps within the 3rd Infantry Division and then works with industry and academic partners to rapidly identify, develop and implement solutions. They foster a culture of a bottom-up innovation to solve today’s problems with technology.

The medal recognized Ezz’s efforts in collaborating to solve a real problem for service members. Then, in May, Ezz reached his goal of receiving his Bachelor of Arts in Leadership in the Public Sector from NC State University.

Background and Program Choice

When Ezz decided to join the U.S. Army in 2019, his desire was to pursue a degree that aligned with his pursuits in the military. Since he had earned certificates and had experience in software engineering, Ezz specifically searched for a program to provide ‘leadership skills as a software lead or a project manager.”

As a long-time resident of North Carolina before joining the service, NC State was among Ezz’s first choices to enroll in for a degree-completion program.

The flexibility of the fully online LPS program was important to Ezz as he is a full-time service member and his studies had to fit into his schedule. “Online programs give students opportunities to study in a work environment in real time.” says Ezz.

“I received a lot of cooperation from my instructors and was allowed to turn in assignments after being in field training,” he says.

He adds that his experience in the LPS program has been enlightening. As an enlisted service member, Ezz attributes the knowledge he gleaned from his studies for earning respect from others led to him earning multiple leadership roles. 

Ezz relays that all of his instructors were inspiring and incredibly helpful during his time in the LPS program. LaShica Waters was, especially “a great, motivating advisor.”

“Because I dropped out of college in 2016, I had challenges to overcome, but I truly made a great comeback.”

Ezz will participate in the LPS commencement ceremony and plans to celebrate his accomplishments with his family, who will be present to see him graduate.

“I am proud to be part of the Wolfpack!”


Are you interested in completing your B.A. degree from NC State Online? Learn more about the School of Public and International Affairs’ Leadership in the Public Sector fully online program.

Visit for a full list of degree and certificate programs.

This post was originally published in DELTA News.