Alumni Spotlight: Peter Ollodart

UMUC graduate Peter Ollodart is behind the scenes at Microsoft battling to make the Internet safe for the whole family.

By Amanda Agatstein |   November 2010

Peter Ollodart , Alumnus

For many, surfing the Web is something as common—and casual—as jumping in a car to run an errand or commute to work. But there are hazards in cyberspace, just as there are in rush hour traffic, and safety demands vigilance. That’s where Peter Ollodart comes in.

Peter, a graduate of UMUC Europe with a BS in computer systems, is Microsoft’s director of planning for consumer security technologies. In that
role, he leads a team in developing products designed to make the online environment safer for everyone, as well as making it easier for parents to manage and guide their children’s Internet use.
“About half of U.S. children say their parents have no clue what they do online,” said Peter. “Part of our job is to narrow that gap.”

For Peter, the biggest challenge of his job is keeping up with the fast pace of emerging security and safety threats. He realizes that this type of work requires a great deal of persistence and an outlook that focuses on the long term.

Peter admitted that he wasn’t always so focused on the future. After graduating from high school, on a whim he bought a one-way ticket to Frankfurt, Germany. He spoke only English at first, but slowly learned the German language on his own. After a year of debating his next career move, he took a job working as a clerk at UMUC in Heidelberg and began studying computer science soon after.

“Moving to Europe was a huge expansion for me,” said Peter. “When I first arrived in Frankfurt, a woman from Britain felt so sorry for me because I couldn’t even figure out what train to get on. But I soon became immersed in the German culture and learned the language fluently. Without UMUC, I probably would have gone back to the U.S. instead of becoming a productive member of European society.”

This story has been edited for the Web. The complete article can be read in the latest edition of Achiever, UMUC's alumni magazine.