Student Profile: How a Division Commander Applies Fundamentals from Undergraduate Studies
Interview with APU Alumnus, John Milby
The following profile will be the first in a series of student profiles of our students and alumni at the university.
Job title: Captain, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, northern Nevada
Degree earned: B.A. in Management, 2012, American Public University
What have you been up to since earning your bachelor’s degree in management at APU?
In 2013, I was accepted to the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security in Monterey where I earned my Master of Arts in Security Studies. I graduated in March of this year and earned the “Outstanding Thesis Award” for my thesis titled, “Pre-empting mass murder: Improving law enforcement risk assessments of persons with mental illness.”
What is your role at the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office?
I joined the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office as a reserve deputy in 1990. I’ve worked a wide variety of assignments in the patrol, investigation, and jail divisions during my career, serving as a field training officer and SWAT team member before being promoted to Captain. My other duties include managing the Professional Standards Unit, serving as a member of the Local Emergency Planning Committee, and serving as President of Douglas County Secret Witness. I currently serve as the Investigation Division Commander.
How did your studies at American Public University prepare you for your success at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School and in your career?
APU was the key to unlocking both career and educational opportunities for me. My undergraduate work at American Public University really prepared and equipped me for graduate school. First, just being accepted to the US Naval Postgraduate School really demonstrated to me the strong reputation APU enjoys in the world of academia. APU also helped me to hone my academic writing skills, my study habits, and the critical thinking skills that enabled me to succeed in graduate school. Moving almost immediately from APU to graduate school I found that I was well equipped to handle the intellectual challenges as well as the work load.
What fundamentals of management, from the program, have you been able to take with you into your career?
Earning my bachelor’s in management at APU has really broadened my horizons, and improved the way I do my job. As a division commander, I especially benefited from the strategic planning class, and regularly use the SWOT analysis and other techniques I learned at APU.
What is one (or two) key pieces of advice you would pass on to someone new to online education?
If I could give one piece of advice to new students, it would be to stay focused on the prize. Don’t stop running your race, even if you can only take one or two classes at a time, just keep chipping away at it. Before you know it, you will have graduated and will be able to look back at your accomplishment with satisfaction.
What is your favorite thing about online learning?
I really enjoy online learning for the freedom it provides — studying at home, at work, in a coffee shop, or even on vacation at the beach. Online learning is a great equalizer — it opens doors, and provides educational opportunities to men and women who previously would have been unable to pursue higher education because of career, family or other commitments, and APU is by far the best online learning experience.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I enjoy spending time with my family as well as running, hiking the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and reading.
Online education isn’t a one size fits all, but it’s a great opportunity for those looking to increase their knowledge in current areas of expertise, or to look at new avenues for growth. Our student profile series will give a face and personality to our dedicated online learners at the university. Interested in learning more about your online education options? Explore our schools and programs at APU.