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The University Magazine

Alumni Updates

Soldier’s work aids students in Iraq

A school in a small town in Iraq now carries the name of the RIT grad who helped rebuild it. The D. Cederman Siniyah Secondary School is just one of several construction projects that Daniel Cederman ’97 (computer engineering) has worked on during two stints in Iraq.

During two tours of duty in Iraq, Daniel
Cerderman ’97 has helped rebuild schools.

“One of our focuses here in Iraq is to ensure that the Iraqis are self-sufficient so when we leave, they are able to expand on the programs that we helped them emplace,” says Capt. Cederman, projects officer for the 402nd Civil Affairs Battalion. “Anything that we start needs to be sustainable in the long term.”

Cederman, a native of Akron, N.Y., joined the Army in 1992 as a private in the reserves. He was a cadet while at RIT and was commissioned as an officer upon graduation. Cederman served in Iraq for eight months in 2003, and returned in April 2006. Although he is part of the 402nd Civil Affairs Battalion, he currently is working for the Third Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division.

In 2003, Cederman’s unit helped Iraqis reconstruct a bridge over the Tigris River and build a water treatment plant. During his most recent deployment, Cederman worked on building a co-ed industrial vocation school in the Tikrit area.

“We were looking for ways to improve the skill of the Iraqi work force and modernize their processes,” he explains.

"There had already been considerable focus on the universities in Iraq, but almost nothing was done to support the vocational programs.”

The school will offer education in plastic engineering, electronic engineering, electrical engineering, automotive engineering, mechanical engineering, and printing. There’s also a satellite campus for fashion design and sewing.

“This facility, when finished, will be one of the premier vocational schools in Iraq,” Cederman says.

He has also helped install a video teleconference center at Tikrit University as part of a project with Texas A&M that Cederman developed.

Cederman and his wife, Vladislava, have a 7-year-old daughter, Liliana. The family has moved around with the military, but currently lives in Tacoma, Wash. Cederman expected to return home in April of this year. He believes his work in Iraq will help other soldiers rejoin their families as well.

“Building a stable economy in Iraq is a key step to coalition forces going home.”