2023 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient

The Watertown Unified School District is proud to announce the 2023 WUSD Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient - Rear Admiral Michael Schwerin!

Michael Schwerin graduated from Watertown High School in 1984.  He was active in the fine arts and language programs.  He went on to Carroll College to seek a degree in psychology and graduated from there in 1988 with a Bachelor of Arts degree.  Upon graduating from Carroll College, Michael went on to earn a Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degree in 1994 from Southern Illinois University- Carbondale in Applied Experimental Psychology with a specialization in psychological testing and measurement.

Upon completing his doctoral degree, he sought and received a commission in the U.S. Navy as a Research Psychologist and conducted research focused on health care needs of women in the Navy as they first served aboard combatant ships.  He then transitioned from active to reserve status assuming a role as a Navy civilian researcher focused on identifying Sailor quality of life related to retention and enhancing the effectiveness of a vast portfolio of family support programs.  As a contract research professional, he continued to support the Department of defense and Navy through the Defense HIV/AIDS Prevention Program managing a multi-disciplinary team of psychologists and epidemiologists to implement HIV/AIDS testing and surveillance methods for use by professionals in seven sub-Saharan African militaries to stem the spread of HIV/AIDS and mitigate its effect on military readiness and defense stability.

Michael also supported U.S. Governmental efforts on behalf of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention developing novel survey methodologies to assess psychological and physical health and wellbeing of disaster victims in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and leading work for the National Cancer Institute developing innovative qualitative approaches to derive village-level dosimetry models of radiation exposure among rural populations in Kazakhstan and Russia. These efforts informed the development of more refined dose reconstruction and dosimetry modeling techniques used to estimate radiation and to treat certain types of cancer.

Throughout his research career, Michael published 21 peer-reviewed journal publications, authored 57 conference presentations, 18 government technical reports, 1 book chapter, and 1 edited book.  He also served on the editorial board of The Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse and Associate Editor of Military Psychology.  His national and international contributions to the scholarship, leadership, and practice of psychology were recognized in 2016 when he was named as Fellow of the American Psychological Association.

Parallel to his civilian research career supporting the U.S. military, he continued to assume greater positions of responsibility in the U.S. Navy Reserve.  After transferring into the Navy Reserve Human Resources in 2009, he led several Reserve units and in 2011-2013, served as the Assistant Officer in Charge of the Navy Mobilization Processing Site - San Diego where he led his team in preparing Sailors for forward deployment and their subsequent return from overseas deployment.  In 2018-2019, he deployed to Djibouti, Africa with the Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa serving as the Director of Manpower and Personnel.  In this role, then Captain Schwerin, was responsible for command manpower planning, staffing and accountability with the mission of collaborating with U.S. and international partners in East Africa, conducting security force assistance, executing military engagements, providing force protection, and ensuring regional access while protecting regional U.S. interests.

In October 2021, Michael Schwerin was promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral (lower half) and assigned as the Reserve Deputy Commander of the Navy Personnel Command where he leads the U.S. Navy’s Talent Management Taskforce and the Reserve Human Resources community.  Current efforts include implementing a new Navy-wide online performance evaluation system for nearly 350,000 shore and shipboard Sailors, developing the future U.S. Navy performance evaluation system, and new approaches to Sailor development and leader selection.

Rear Admiral Schwerin resides in Marina, California, with his wife Alicia and their three sons, daughter-in-law and granddaughter.

We look forward to honoring Rear Admiral Schwerin with a full day of Gosling excitement the Friday of Homecoming week!

Congratulations!  Once a Gosling, always a Gosling!