Political Science to Space Studies: How Philosophy Inspired My Ready Moment
By Kurt Messick
Faculty Member, Humanities Program at American Public University
After I finished seminary back in 2005, I was looking for the “next big thing” in my life. I was teaching part-time at a local community college and also serving as a part-time chaplain, but neither of these looked like a permanent fixture in my life. While I was browsing the internet for various options, I happened along a school named American Public University. At the time I’d never heard of it, but they were offering a political philosophy class online, and it sounded intriguing.
Prior to seminary, I had been interested and involved, both academically and professionally, in politics, and seminary added the philosophical side to my interest. I took the course, taught by Dr. Frank McCluskey, who was then provost of the university, and decided to investigate more. I ended up doing a complete M.A. in Political Science (with 18 hours of economics-related courses thrown in for good measure). By this time, I was also teaching for the university, and decided that it was time to start on the next educational chapter of my life. I’d been interested in Astronomy since my early childhood. My father was stationed at Patrick AFB when the Apollo program was going, so we had rocket launches in our back yard, and the Carl Sagan series on Cosmos also solidified my interest long ago. So, I went for my M.S. in Space Studies with APU.
When my space studies endeavor was completed, once again the idea of lifelong education was strong, so I began the M.A. in National Security Studies, for which I am about to finish the final piece — the thesis. Wish me luck! I’ve already decided on my next direction. Sports Management. Being now half a century old, my days of playing anything professionally are gone (although I still have a chance at making the Olympics team in curling, for which age is not necessarily a determining factor for competence), but I could easily see myself in my retirement working with schools and local groups in their amateur and semi-pro leagues with the knowledge and skills I’d learn from the degree. And who knows what will happen next? Having an education means the door is always open to new opportunities when they arise, and I’ve never walked away from something without trying it first. The moment presents itself for school, and with that, when other moments present themselves professionally, that means I’m ready.
Ready more about “Ready Moment” and see how others were inspired to go back to school.
About the Author
Kurt Messick attended Indiana University, where he received a B.A. in Political Science and Religious Studies, with a minor in Mathematics. He then got a Jewish Studies Certificate. Kurt studied in the graduate program at the University of London while also working in Parliament for Margaret Thatcher during the mid-1980s. He served as an election agent, campaign manager, office manager, and policy analyst. He received a Master of Divinity degree at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, graduating Summa cum Laude, and served as the seminary’s Director of Communications for two years while pursuing his degree. He is currently in the process of finishing a Doctorate in Theology and History through the South African Theological Seminary.