Receiving his ceremonial hood from the University of Notre Dame was the culmination of Lt. Col. Roland “Woody” Olmstead’s academic goals and the gateway to becoming a professor at the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Olmstead, a T-1A Jayhawk instructor pilot with the 3rd Flying Training Squadron at Vance, completed his doctorate in political science in March. The ceremonial hood is the uniform of academia.

When worn around the neck, its colors represent the graduate’s university and the cut signifies the level of education achieved. It is similar to the Air Force’s service dress uniform which showcases the rank and ribbons that summarize an airman’s accomplishments.

Olmstead’s journey to a doctorate degree started with his homeschool education and travel opportunities with his parents. He eventually graduated from the Air Force Academy in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in military and strategic studies and immediately began a master’s degree in public policy at the University of Maryland, which he completed in 2008.

After all that, Olmstead earned his pilot’s wings and climbed into the cockpit of a C-130 Hercules, a tactical airlift aircraft.

Olmstead’s Air Force career eventually led him to Team Vance as an instructor pilot and flight commander in 2017. Guiding young Air Force officers through the year-long Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training curriculum allowed then-Capt. Olmstead to see the direct impact his leadership decisions had on the lives of those around him.

The ability to influence future Air Force officers and improve his own leadership abilities led Olmstead to the Air Force Academy Faculty Pipeline program. The program gave him the chance to pursue a doctorate degree and eventually become a professor at the academy.

With the support of his leadership at the 3rd FTS, Olmstead settled on the political science program at Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind.

An average doctorate program takes five to seven years. Olmstead had to complete his in three. He learned to say “No” when others would ask him to attend speakers visiting the campus or teaching classes within his field of study.

“My mentor told me, ‘if you have more than three priorities, you have none,’” Olmstead said.

While earning his ceremonial hood might seem like the end of the line, it was just the start of something else for Olmstead. He plans to pursue further research, teach or work with restorative justice, which was a focal point in his thesis.

The USAFA Faculty Pipeline program allowed Olmstead to do what “God made him to do,” said his wife, Jill. “I’m really proud of my man for working hard on his Ph.D., but also how he set it aside to spend time with the family.”

He worked a lot on his dissertation defense, which he did over Zoom calls because of the coronavirus pandemic. But the opportunity to be a “civilian” for three years provided some fun opportunities as well, like family breakfast, Jill said.

Olmstead returned to Vance in April as assistant director of operations for the 3rd Flying Training Squadron, to

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – Receiving his ceremonial hood from the University of Notre Dame was the culmination of Lt. Col. Roland Olmstead’s academic goals and the gateway to becoming a professor at the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Olmstead, a T-1A Jayhawk instructor pilot with the 3rd Flying Training Squadron at Vance, completed his doctorate in political science in March. The ceremonial hood is the uniform of academia.

When worn around the neck, its colors represent the graduate’s university and the cut signifies the level of education achieved. It is similar to the Air Force’s service dress uniform which showcases the rank and ribbons that summarize an Airman’s accomplishments. 

Olmstead’s journey to a doctorate degree started with his homeschool education and travel opportunities with his parents. He eventually graduated from the Air Force Academy in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in military and strategic studies and immediately began a master of public policy at the University of Maryland, which he completed in 2008.

After all that, Olmstead earned his pilot’s wings and climbed into the cockpit of a C-130 Hercules, a tactical airlift aircraft.

Olmstead’s Air Force career eventually led him to Team Vance as an instructor pilot and flight commander in 2017. Guiding young Air Force officers through the year-long Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training curriculum allowed then-Major Olmstead to see the direct impact his leadership decisions had on the lives of those around him. 

The ability to influence future Air Force officers and improve his own leadership abilities led Olmstead to the Air Force Academy Faculty Pipeline program. The program permitted him to step out the active duty Air Force world for three years to pursue a doctorate degree and eventually become a professor at the academy.

With the support of his leadership at the 3rd FTS, Olmstead settled on the political science program at Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. 

An average doctorate program takes five to seven years. Olmstead had to complete his in three. He learned to say “No” when others would ask him to attend speakers visiting the campus or teaching classes within his field of study. “My mentor told me, ‘if you have more than three priorities, you have none.’” 

While earning his ceremonial hood might seem like the end of the line, it was just the start of something else for Olmstead. He plans to pursue further research, teach or work with restorative justice, which was a focal point in his thesis. 

The USAFA Faculty Pipeline program allowed Olmstead to do what “God made him to do,” said his wife, Jill. “I’m really proud of my man for working hard on his Ph.D., but also how he set it aside to spend time with the family.” 

He worked a lot on his dissertation defense, which he did over Zoom calls because of the coronavirus pandemic. But the opportunity to be a “civilian” for three years provided some fun opportunities as well, like family breakfast, Jill said. 

Olmstead returned to Vance in April

Like one extremely famous rust belt prodigy, Seamus O’Keefe is taking his talents to the Sunshine State.

OK, O’Keefe isn’t LeBron James. He won’t be gracing the cover of Sports Illustrated anytime soon. But the 13-year-old Lewiston native is taking a major step as an amateur soccer player, earning a spot in the Orlando City Soccer Club’s youth academy.

Youth academies, for those who have not yet fallen for the beautiful game, are exactly what they sound like: specialized schools, owned and operated by professional franchises, where soccer is part of the coursework — think the Los Angeles Lakers running a prep school. Most franchises, including Orlando City, cover almost all of the costs, investing in young players with the hope of reaping rewards down the road, either on the pitch or financially.

Ideally, a player works his way up through the academy and turns into a homegrown star. If a player catches the eye of a European team before signing professionally with his academy club, the club gets a percentage of future transfer fees under FIFA regulations.

Because players retain amateur status, they’re still eligible to play collegiately, should they so choose.

Orlando City is an MLS franchise, and its youth teams compete in MLS Next, widely considered the top youth circuit in the country.

“It’s a pretty big opportunity because he’s connected to a professional team and there’s a direct pipeline from where he’s going to being a professional soccer player,” said Mike Skelton, an assistant coach with the Niagara University women’s team and an academy coach at WNY Flash who helped Seamus prepare for his tryout with Orlando City.

“If you look in Europe, all the teams that are big that everyone’s heard of, Manchester City, Real Madrid, Barcelona, they all have their own academies. A lot of those players come through, and some of them make the first team, but a lot of them, even if they don’t, they end up playing professionally at some level.”

That’s the goal for Seamus, a sixth-grader at St. Peter’s in Lewiston. The youngest of 10 — a super-sized Brady Bunch created when a father of five and a mother of four married and decided to have one more child — Seamus has been kicking a soccer ball since he was 2 years old, often against siblings as many as 12 years older.

Sports were part of everyday life. Seamus’ father, 52-year-old Tim O’Keefe, was a running back at Baldwin Wallace University, a Division III program that was top 10 in the nation during his time there in the 1980s. His second-oldest brother, 23-year-old Colin, came up through Canisius High School and Buffalo State College and just finished a professional season in Michigan with the Muskegon Risers of the Major Arena Soccer League 2. He’s headed to Greece this month to train and continue to chase a professional career.

Seamus was “taught a lot” by his family members, along with a cadre of coaches. At Flash, he works with U13

Joshua Beser, who served as general counsel at travel apparel company Away, is leaving his chair in the C-suite for the emerging companies practice at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati in New York.

Beser directed New York-based Away’s legal strategy for more than three years as the company evolved from the startup stage forward. Before that, he served as legal counsel for Canary, a security retailer, and Lonza, a life sciences company.

At Wilson Sonsini he’ll focus on emerging life sciences, technology, and consumer brands companies. He’ll also leverage his years of in-house background as an outside general counsel for clients.

Beser’s trajectory entering Big Law practice after years in-house is somewhat unusual, but he said in an interview he would not have left his “dream job” at Away for just any firm.

“What the firm is building in New York is something special,” he said of Wilson Sonsini, a Silicon Valley-founded firm known for helping giants like Apple Inc., Google Inc., and Lyft Inc. go public.

Beser is the fifth partner to join Wilson Sonsini this year, following on the heels of Matt Lyons, another lawyer experienced in representing startups. Lyons joined the firm last week in Austin, Texas, a hot spot for emerging companies and the firms that represent them.

Attorneys from Wilson Sonsini’s New York office recently advised clients including Shutterstock, fuboTV, Pointy, Maven, and Babylon Health, according to a statement from the firm.

Beser’s “combination of in-house and law firm experience will allow him to offer both early- and late-stage clients practical insights and valuable perspectives,” Doug Clark, managing partner at Wilson Sonsini, said in the statement.

Beser also has “developed extensive ties” to New York’s start-up community, and is well known by the region’s in-house lawyers in his sector, Clark said.

Beser said the knowledge he’s gained from “living inside of a company” will help him zoom out to meet the needs of clients from early-stage consumer brands to later-stage brands.

The opportunity to “take what I’ve learned and then reapply it in a different way was really exciting to me,” Beser said of returning to Big Law.

Before his initial move in-house, Beser was an associate at now defunct law firms Bingham McCutchen and Heller Ehrman.