Marybeth Hoffman, an all-state high school athlete and member of the class of 1991, was enshrined into the William Floyd Athletic Hall of Fame in 2016 for her myriad accomplishments as a three-sport all-state student athlete (basketball/field hockey/softball). During her time as a Colonial, she helped lead the field hockey and softball teams to five League I titles, two Suffolk County Class A finals, a Long Island Championship and a fourth-place overall finish in NY State for softball. She was also captain and voted most valuable player of four of those teams. She attended Quinnipiac University on a full academic/athletic scholarship and graduated as the valedictorian in 1995.
Marybeth received Quinnipiac’s Graduation Prize in psychology (her major), and earned a number of distinctions including both national and regional research and honorary fellowships, as well as various local academic and athletic excellence awards. She also earned a minor in computer science.
In 1996, Marybeth began a Ph.D. program in psychology at the University of Rhode Island (URI), where she was awarded both teaching and research assistantships. At 27, she published her first, first-authored article in a scientific journal, a study investigating an elusive but important construct in psychology. Since that time, the article she authored and scale she developed has been cited hundreds of times in the scientific literature, across several countries, and is considered foundational work in “Sense of Belonging Theory.” Her work led to widespread changes in a major university-wide program at URI and continues to inform the design and implementation of student retention programs at colleges and universities throughout the country.
Marybeth completed her pre-doctoral internship in psychology (school/clinical) at the University of Kansas in 2001-2002. While a psychologist by trade and with the tragedy of 9/11 fresh in mind, she was driven to take her skills to federal service. Despite being heavily recruited by one of this nation’s premier intelligence agencies, she accepted a job as an analyst with the Department of Defense (DoD) in Colorado.
Marybeth spent the majority of her time with the DoD working for the Pentagon at the Air Force (AF) Center of Expertise (CoE) in Denver, CO, an organization she helped standup. She applied her unique skill set to solve problems and improve processes – on-site – at AF and Joint Bases throughout the country and around the world, including deployments to the Middle East. The analyses she performed had major systemic impacts across the AF and were often highlighted by senior leadership in AF Publications, HQ Briefings and other communications to the field. Marybeth was often invited to present her work at AF and DoD-Wide Conferences and compose articles for DoD publications.
Marybeth received numerous individual and team awards throughout her tenure with the DoD, many coming directly from the CEO of the USAF, the Secretary of the AF for Financial Management. Among Marybeth’s most notable achievements, was designing and developing the AF’s first requirements-driven budget tool – the Life Cycle Budget Tool (LCBT). LCBT brought needed transparency, visibility and accountability to the budget process, improving analysis and on-demand decision support and ensuring scant resources are used wisely. Marybeth tested and deployed LCBT through several AF Major Commands, artfully rebalancing $1.6B in requirements against $645M in funding authority.
In 2011, the LCBT Team Marybeth led was one of six finalists for the “Chief of Staff of the AF Team Excellence Award” (Senior Military Member of the USAF). In 2013, the USAF filed a patent application for LCBT with Marybeth listed as the principal inventor. LCBT revolutionized AF-based budgeting and is the conceptual and functional underpinning for the AF Budget Execution Analysis Tool (AFBEAT). In 2017, AFBEAT will be used by every organization across the 500,000 member AF and will manage $40B in Operations and Maintenance Funding. It is the first cradle-to-grave budget tool ever developed and used by the USAF.
Marybeth’s greatest accomplishment, however, came in 2013 when she self-diagnosed her own pancreatic cancer from a pattern she observed in otherwise in normal bloodwork. Her persistence and determination, much of which was gained long ago on the athletic fields of Mastic Beach, led her to a local Denver emergency room in May, 2013, where she convinced reluctant medical staff to do a CT scan of her abdomen. A half hour later, she learned she had a mass in her pancreas.
While Marybeth was diagnosed with Stage IVB Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer, a prognosis of 3-6 months and a five-year survival of one percent, she, in-part, credits catching the disease when she did to why she is still here almost four years later. The rest, she believes she owes to her selfless and devoted family – most notably her wife, Terry, mother, Virginia, siblings Bernadette and Rob, niece and nephews – and to the love and support of her friends, to include, in no small magnitude, her William Floyd family. Despite the decades that passed since Marybeth walked the halls of William Floyd, her classmates, her teammates, showed up en masse to provide encouragement, laughter and even invest their own time in raising money and awareness of this disease. This has collectively given her the ability to thrive, despite 90 cycles of intense chemotherapy, and continually reminds her that she is fighting for something greater than herself.
Marybeth medically retired from the DoD in 2014, on her 41st Birthday. Subsequently, she and her wife, Terry, relocated from Denver, CO, to be near family in CT. Marybeth’s self-diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, without the aid of conventional techniques like radiology and pathology, shocked leading experts in the field. She is currently working with faculty at Quinnipiac on several projects, including a book about advocacy in health care.