My educational experience at American Military University has had a profound impact on my career in emergency management. Within a year of starting my master’s degree in homeland security, I was asked to teach at another university where I instructed ROTC. This opportunity allowed me to highlight the knowledge I gained from AMU and helped me form valuable relationships with the head of the criminal justice department and the director of public safety that facilitated subsequent employment.
I was an over-the-road truck driver for 12 years, mainly traveling from Minneapolis to Detroit on a dedicated run. Sometimes, I would finish my day at 2:00 or 3:00 in the afternoon with nothing else to do. While other drivers would go watch TV or play video games in their truck, I decided to go back to school. Since I could download the books onto either my iPad or laptop, I always had something to read while waiting for customers to load or unload me. When I would get home on weekends, I would already have all of the research done for the classes and was able to knock out the classwork in nothing flat.
I was able to finish both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in transportation and logistics this way in about 3 ½ years. It took me only 14 months to complete my master’s degree, all while driving trucks. My hope was to be able to come off the road and have a college degree to fall back on.
As part of my practicum for my Master of Public Health degree for American Military University, I participated in the #Bhepbfree campaign launched May 1, 2016, during Hepatitis B Awareness Month. The campaign resulted in 1.1 million Washington state residents being reached through social media and has become a prominent topic well beyond as many other states and organizations have similarly raised awareness about a disease that is rarely discussed. The agency that used this application is known as Thunderclap, a crowdsourcing tool that helps to amplify the message on a specified day and time across different social media platforms.
I was asked recently by a fellow military spouse whether earning a graduate degree was worth the time and effort involved. The question is very broad, and the answer truly depends on you and your career path.
For some professions, a higher degree is often mandatory. In others, factors such as self-improvement, the desire for in-depth knowledge and skills, or a change in career goals are some reasons why people decide to go for a graduate degree. The most popular motivation is to open up opportunities for career advancement and earn more money.
I am an American Public University graduate with a BA in psychology, but my story starts a lot further back. I am an adult learner, which means life delayed my college goals for a long time, but thankfully, age is no excuse not to try! I dreamed of college, yet when I was in high school I let my doubt that I wasn’t smart enough derail my plans for college and law school. Two weeks after I turned 19, while my high school friends were enjoying their first college spring break, I had a daughter. I was soon a single mom trying to make ends meet in my minimum wage job and thinking, “why didn’t I go to college?” At that point, college was impossible.