Jacob “Jude” PiptaMarch 22, 2022
Jacob Pipta (now goes by Jude) grew up in Pennsylvania and moved to Kirksville to attend Truman back in 2009. After he graduated and commissioned from Truman, he moved to the Bay Area in California. Since that time, Jude has worked for the Army, Apple, and, most recently, started at Rivian Automotive. Jude deployed to the Middle East in 2017 in support of CJTF-Operation Inherent Resolve. In his down time, Jude loves to work on his cars, ride his motorcycle with friends, tinker with retro game consoles, and hike.
What year did you graduate and what was your concentration?
I graduated May 2014 and my concentration was Journalism.
What extra-/co-curricular activities did you do?
I commissioned with our ROTC department and I was in PRISM.
Did you go to grad school? If so, where? Was it immediately after you left Truman or did you wait? Why?
No, I was commissioned into the Army right after graduation.
What was your first job after graduation?
Technically I went to my assigned unit the 304th Information Operation Battalion (Camp Parks, CA) as a Signal Support Officer. Since then, I have held a few different positions within the Battalion. My first civilian job was working at Apple as an Operations Specialist and culminating working as a Proactive Intelligence Quality Engineer.
What work do you do/What are you doing now?
Now I am at the 303rd Information Operations Battalion as an IO planner and I work at Rivian Automotive as a Vehicle Specialist.
How has your Liberal Arts/COMM education helped you?
It helped me the most during my deployment. I worked in a 3-star headquarters. I was working with several different countries in our coalition. I was having to manage vast amounts of data and information, then present our findings and assessments to high-ranking officers and commanders.
Which class did you dislike at the time you took it, but now you’re grateful you took it?
It’s a tie between Public Speaking and Interpersonal Communication. The amount of people and audiences I have had to work with and give presentations to would have been insurmountable without these core classes. These were the fundamentals I built on and grew from.
What was your greatest accomplishment at Truman?
I think the highlight of my time at Truman was gaining my Commission. Also branching out and doing things I would never have done when I was younger like participating in the different arts.
Why is Truman a good place for a student to study?
How personal the whole university is. My folks work for a large state university on the east coast, and it is almost overwhelming how big everything is. From the campus size to the class size, everything is large. I am glad I was able to meet everyone in my classes and visit every building on campus.
What would you say a COMM student should absolutely do while at Truman?
Take classes way outside of your major or comfort zone. I took Introduction to Horsemanship and Introduction to Theatre Arts. They were some of my favorite classes and some of my fondest memories.
What advice would you give someone who wants to go into the same line of work as you?
Network, Network, Network. Working in tech or the Army is really about who you know. It helps to have someone who can vouch for you or speak kindly of you or some who can have your back.
The next best thing I can offer is “be valuable to your team.” You will find yourself in jobs or positions you have very little experience in. If you are, try to figure out the way you can have the best impact on your team. I remember one of Dr. Yaquinto’s classes from back in the day. It was a film class and I had very little experience in producing a short film. Initially I couldn’t provide the typical filming or editing support. Then I looked at what the team needed, and I started getting them. I was able to get them cars and locations for the productions from the connections I had made in the area. I was able to jerry-rig other equipment to make shots work. Overall, I was able to add a great amount of value to the team.
What do you miss most about campus/Kirksville?
Can I say cheap rent or no traffic? Actually, I miss all the events! There was always a group or an organization having a meet, party, or shin-dig. I wish I had gone to more while I was there.
What tag line would you create for the COMM department at Truman?
“Everyone needs to communicate.”
If you could come back to Truman and teach a class for a semester, what would be its title and what would it be about?
I would probably teach a networking in tech seminar titled “Technically Speaking.” It would focus on how to communicate very detailed and technical information clearly.
What did we not ask that you think is important for people to know?
Take the risk. Reach out and see how far you can get.
If you would like to learn more of Jude’s story, you can follow him on LinkedIn.