A prestigious Army course in El Paso, Texas, put a soldier on the path to a master’s degree.
Army Sgt. Maj. Chris Gunn, a sergeant major for the 3rd Brigade, 1st Armored Division, put academics on hold at Middle Georgia College when he joined the Army.
He left his home in Warner Robins, Ga., and joined the military. As he rose in rank and responsibility, he saw the world – and the benefits of an academic education.
Gunn took some online classes but his academic breakthrough was being selected in 2008 to attend the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy at Fort Bliss, Texas. The nine-month program trains top non-commissioned officers in the U.S.military and foreign countries.
While at the academy, he met a representative from The University of Texas at El guided him to earn a bachelor’s in multidisciplinary studies in spring 2009. UTEP personnel encouraged him to register for the master’s in leadership studies hybrid program (half face-to-face, half online). He earned his hood in May 2010.
“The Army wants critical, creative thinkers. (Its leaders) want us to be able to perform outside our comfort zone,” he said. “It’s amazing how school has opened my eyes and made me more analytical.”
He suggests transfer students keep their options open and keep their eyes on the broader horizon.
Gunn said his ability to tie his Army training and academic education has given him a broader perspective in numerous areas including business and culture that will make him a better military leader and a more marketable civilian.