What is it like to be Active-Duty Military and a graduate student in the Johnson & Wales University College of Online Education? Read on to see what JWU student Erin Stinnett Tanner, MBA – Nonprofit Management ’16, has to say about her experience.
Erin Stinnett Tanner ’16
MBA – Nonprofit Management
Describe your military background and current role.
"I have been Active-Duty Navy for six years. I am currently an Operations Specialist Petty Officer First Class (E-6). I have been stationed aboard the USS Enterprise CVN-65 and the USS Theodore Roosevelt CVN-71, both out of Norfolk, Virginia. I was also at Joint Chiefs of Staff in Suffolk, Virginia. I am currently stationed at Naval Station Great Lakes, Illinois, where I work as a Navy Military Training Instructor. In this position I oversee up to 400 students at a time and provide them with the skills, mentorship, and leadership that are needed to succeed in the fleet. I also teach Bystander Intervention, a class that teaches sailors the importance of stepping in as a bystander in any situation where it is needed. I also work as a Sexual Assault Victim Advocate, which is a position that is very near and dear to my heart. The Navy has some great programs that I am honored to be a part of."
What was your motivation for pursuing this degree?
"I believe that continuing one’s education is so important. My grandfather once told me that an education is the one thing no one can ever take from you, which is something I have held very near and dear to my heart. Also, I want to prepare myself for the day when I do leave the military, so that I can continue to be successful in the civilian world."
How did you learn about the Johnson & Wales University College of Online Education?
"Some of my friends and my cousin attended JWU for undergrad and absolutely loved it. When I decided to seek out graduate programs, I wanted a school that was military friendly, offered online programs, and had a good reputation. JWU College of Online Education fit all those requirements and has exceeded my expectations."
Why does online learning work for you?
"Being in the Navy, my schedule is jammed-packed and ever changing. Online learning works for me because I can do my classes “on the go” and at a pace that works for me. I was able to get an AA and BA while I was deployed, which I think is pretty amazing. I love technology! It is also ideal because I have a life outside of work and school, which is also very important to me. I love spending time with my husband and dogs and relaxing every now and then; pursuing an online education also leaves time for that, which is essential."
Any favorite/interesting classes so far?
"When I started my MBA, I was really nervous about the finance classes, but I actually learned so much and, as weird as it is to say, I enjoyed the classes. I also enjoyed Effective Leadership. It was neat because I am able to apply what we learned with my position in the Navy, which is all about leadership."
What are the advantages of online learning for a military service member?
"As I mentioned, our schedules are all over the place more often than not. Online learning allows us to continue our education at times when it would not be otherwise possible. I know I speak for many when I say I am so grateful that this is even an option."
How do you think your MBA will help you achieve your career goals?
"Prior to the fall semester, I switched to the new MBA – Nonprofit Management program. I am very passionate about nonprofit work and love doing volunteer work. Locally, I do work with organizations like ElderCARE, Feed My Starving Children, Food Bank of Northern Illinois, and Wagging Hearts animal rescue. When I transition out of the Navy, I think the MBA will give me the tools to be successful and well-rounded in business, and the NPM classes will give me the opportunity to reach for a career that I love doing each and every day. My parents always told me to never depend on anyone for my happiness and success, so obtaining this degree is one step to achieving this goal."
What advice would you give to someone who is considering the JWU College of Online Education?
"I would absolutely recommend them to the JWU College of Online Education. I have had some amazing professors, and every encounter I have had with staff from JWU has been pleasant — from my advisors to the financial service office to the helpdesk and everyone in between. JWU is very military friendly and their commitment to the military is growing. This semester, I started receiving my textbooks at no cost,* and the payment process with tuition assistance and the G.I. Bill has changed in a way that is very helpful. I would just say that communication is so important in any education process. There is always someone to reach out to for questions … but it is important to ask!"
If you are a military or veteran student and are interested in learning more about Johnson & Wales University and why it is named a Top Military Friendly School, contact 855-JWU-1881 or [email protected].
*Textbook benefit is available to active-duty military students enrolled in an online degree program. For more information, click here.