Interview with AMU Alumna, Kelli Oliver
The following profile is the third in a series of student profiles of our students and alumni at the university.
Job title: Air Traffic Controller, U.S. Army
Degree earned: B.A. in History, 2011. Currently pursuing her M.A. in History at American Military University.
What have you been up to since earning your bachelor’s degree in history at AMU?
Since earning my bachelor’s degree in history, my life has changed exponentially! After much consideration, I decided to enlist in the United States Army in hopes of enriching the knowledge I had gained from completing my degree at AMU. I became an Air Traffic Controller and have loved every minute of it.
What led you to choose a master’s in history? Was it based on passion or a specific career goal?
There were many reasons that I decided to pursue my master’s in history through AMU. First and foremost, I have a passion for history and all that it entails. I believe that one cannot be too educated about the historical past or we may end up repeating some of the same mistakes. Secondly, I chose to obtain this degree because it would aid me on my journey to become a professor of history at the university level. This has always been a dream of mine; therefore, this degree is yet another stepping stone towards success in my future.
Tell us about your role as an air traffic controller for the U.S. Army.
As an air traffic controller in the Army, I have discovered a passion that I never knew existed. I have been trained to control radar and non-radar air traffic, manage aircraft separation, and apply enroute, ground and terminal approaches as well as perform visual, special and instrument flight rules. I have been trained in the air traffic control towers as well as in tactical air traffic control towers where we can be set up and controlling air traffic in under an hour. While it is a stressful job, it is also immensely rewarding.
How did your studies at American Military University prepare you for your success in your career?
While it may not seem that my studies at AMU have helped in my job in the Army, it actually has. I always strive to do my best in each class and have learned that the key to success is time management. I’ve taken that success component with me and turned it into an education opportunity for other Soldiers. I’m able to teach other Soldiers about the history of the 82nd Airborne Division, which I am a part of. Our division has been a part of most wars America has fought and it has proudly served all over the world. The Troopers of the 82nd Airborne Division are required to obtain the knowledge of these battles and their outcomes.
My studies, and my training in the Army have taught me to lead by example. It’s been my goal to show others that working hard and attending school while serving will pay off in the end.
Has education always been a priority? Has your life in the military created any road blocks?
Education has always been a high priority for me. My parents helped me to instill a great work ethic and I have been fortunate enough to have always known what I would like to do with my life. I feel like my drive and determination to be successful has allowed me to get the most out of my education here at AMU. Being active duty Army, it has been quite a bit tougher with graduate level coursework. With that being said, I have continuously reminded myself that I am blessed to have a university who understands the long hours, constant field and training missions, and deployments. My professors at AMU enable me to complete my coursework to the best of my ability while also performing my military duties.
What are your career goals and how do you intend to apply your knowledge of history?
Each history student has different aspirations with their history degree. For me, I intend to apply the knowledge I have gained through my two degrees and to impart that wisdom to other students of history in the future. My ultimate goal is to become a professor of history at the university level; preferably in the undergraduate spectrum.
What is one (or two) key pieces of advice you would pass on to someone new to online education?
For anyone considering online education, I would say that above all else, remember time management. Using your time wisely and planning accordingly can be the difference between an “A” and a “C”. Also, I would say to not become too stressed out or overwhelmed by any course load. The professors really work with our schedules as working adults.
What is your favorite thing about online learning?
My favorite thing about online learning, as a working adult, is that I have ample time to complete my assignments and still retain everything I learn. The other thing I really enjoy about online learning is that I still get to interact with other classmates each week. The discussion forums really add to the classes and make bouncing ideas off of each other so easy and helpful.
What do you like to do in your free time?
The thing I enjoy the most in my free time is spending time with my husband and two children. Whether we’re playing a board game, swimming in the pool or having family movie night, we enjoy being together. I also enjoy going to the gym, singing and dancing the night away.
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 AMU.