The Many Roles of Outstanding AlumKnight Debra Perry

Each year, University of Central Florida’s College of Sciences honors 10 esteemed alumni with the Outstanding AlumKnights award. The Department of Mathematics gave this accolade to Debra Perry based on her outstanding achievements.

Perry graduated from UCF with two bachelor’s degrees in 1977 – one in applied mathematics and the other in education. She continued her education in applied mathematics and earned her master’s degree in 1982. When she wasn’t busy acquiring three degrees, Perry spent her time getting in touch with her creative side.

“As an undergrad I participated in theater,” she said. “I was Curley’s wife in the ‘Of Mice and Men’ production.”

While working on her master’s degree, she was the charter captain for the original UCF marching band dance team and loved going to the football games.

“Being in the band and going to football games was a great experience,” she expressed. “It left me with a love of UCF football, so much so I’ve had season tickets for years. And I attended the UCF Penn State game in Ireland!”

Perry still finds time to stay involved even after graduating. She currently serves as the communications chair for the Space Coast UCF Alumni Chapter and helped them establish their first Endowment.

Debra Perry with Dean Michael D. Johnson

Her ongoing involvement is a way of giving back to the institute that supported her during and after her academic career.

“UCF helped me get a teaching job right out of college and helped me get a software engineering job once I finished my master’s degree,” she said.

Besides her role as a teacher and software engineer, Perry has had the opportunity to be a part of many successful endeavors throughout the years.

She served as a chief software engineer, an integration and test lead, a control account manager, a group leader, a research and development lead, a process improvement developer, a measurement and analysis trainer and a six sigma green belt, just to name a few. She’s also been able to travel for her job, spending two years in Pennsylvania supporting a Lockheed Martin program as a Harris engineer.

With many admirable positions under her belt, it would seem difficult to come up with a favorite memory on the job. But for Perry, one moment stood out above the rest.

“Receiving a Harris Corporation Golden Quill Award for a briefing that was presented at a conference that won the best paper in its track was my most memorable experience,” she said.

The fun-loving yet hardworking Outstanding AlumKnight leaves UCF students with the secret to a successful path.

“Pay attention to getting experience such as internships, mission trips, volunteer work and regular work while you’re getting your education,” she advised. “Try to make sure you have connections to help you get your ideal job after you graduate.”

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