Hughesville graduate recognized at Naval Academy | News, Sports, Jobs

Kade Heckel knows what he wants and works hard to achieve his goals.

Naval Academy midshipman Heckel, 21, can already boast a long list of accomplishments.

Most recently, he was awarded a Marshall Fellowship, a highly competitive academic award offering up to two years of graduate study in the UK.

“I am very curious and I like to learn new things” he said. “My parents never asked me to do my best. I keep trying as hard as I can.

His father, Mark Heckel, an instructional designer at Pennsylvania College of Technology, can attest to this.

He saw his son’s passion and dynamism up close.

“He has always been a motivated young man since he was little”, said Marc.

Very early on, his son showed a passion for computers and technology and focused his future on this field of learning.

As a student at Hughesville High School, Kade considered applying to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and perhaps could have entered this prestigious and competitive college where some of the brightest minds study.

He was, after all, a highly motivated and successful student who ended up becoming the major of his upper class. He played in the squad, participated in student government, and participated in football, wrestling, and athletics.

But Mark reminded him of the enormous debt he would accumulate with four years of studying at MIT, which Kade himself wanted to avoid.

“I asked him if he was thinking of one of the military academies”, said Marc.

Kade looked at West Point and the Naval Academy, both of which offered the fields of study he wanted.

“He found Navy the best place for him,” said Marc. “From that point on he focused on the laser to become a midshipman and enter the Navy.”

He left for Annapolis, Maryland, home of the Naval Academy. But on her first day there, tragedy occurred when her mother died of cancer.

His mother’s death hit him hard, but Kade knew only one way forward.

He has become more focused than ever on his studies.

“I focused on what I could control, what was working hard” he said.

It was his mother, a school counselor, who had always wanted him to strive for excellence.

He then earned a 4.0 GPA in his first semester and has since maintained that perfect GPA. He is one of only 13 of the class of 2022 of a group of 1,000 aspiring Trident Fellows.

Additionally, he was shortlisted for the Dr. Karel Montor Leadership Award (one of five in his class) for his consistent excellence in the Leadership, Ethics and Law curriculum, placing him in the top 1% of classroom performance, and was inducted into the Naval Academy’s Omicron Delta Kappa Leadership Honor Society.

He holds a double major in computer science and computer engineering and conducts research on machine learning for the detection of intrusions in networks. He was a training officer and vice-present of the Cybersecurity team at the Naval Academy.

He was recognized in 2019 for discovering two attack vectors against commercial 3D printing technologies, as his research influenced the Navy’s requirements to install such systems on ships.

“I realized how important IT and cybersecurity are to protect lives and livelihoods”, he said.

He said he didn’t regret going to the Naval Academy.

His dad said he was certainly proud of what Kade accomplished.

“He just surpasses everyone around him”, he said. “He doesn’t take shortcuts. He does not choose the easy way. This was true from the first cycle of secondary school.

Kade said his father was a big influence.

“I wouldn’t be who I am without him. He was a model ”, he said.

Upon commissioning, Kade will pursue a Master of Science in Artificial Intelligence and Adaptive Systems at the University of Sussex in Brighton, England.

His plans are to serve as a Cyber ​​Warfare Engineer upon completion of the Marshall Fellowship Program.

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