When working for a University as an administrator, it is sometimes difficult to get to know every student on a one-to-one basis. Especially if that student is an online (or distance learning) student and he or she is in the military. Well, we are able to catch up with one such student who earned her degree from Florida National University wholly online. Please take a moment to read about First Class Petty Officer Beth Sullivan’s experiences as an online student and a member of the United States Navy.
1. Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Albion, Iowa. It is a small town of approximately 1000 people in rural central Iowa. It wasn’t odd to see kids walking down the middle of the street or driving golf carts around town. Everyone knew each other and all the kids went to school together.
2. Where did you go to high school?
I went to Marshalltown Senior High in Marshalltown, Iowa and graduated in 1995.
3. Why did you choose the Navy?
The Navy offered me a program that looked like I would enjoy it, and it was a way for me to move away from the small town in Iowa.
4. What is your rank?
E-6 (First Class Petty Officer)
5. How long have you been in the Navy?
It will be 18 years as of December 2014
6. What is your specialty (career field) in the Navy?
My NEC (Naval Enlisted Classification) is an SSDS Technician (Ships Self-Defense System)
7. Do you plan to make the Navy a career?
I do plan on making the Navy a career.
8. Where have you been stationed? Have you ever been assigned to a ship?
I have been stationed from the Great Lakes in Illinois to Japan. I have served on four ships.
9. You just earned your AS from FNU. Why did you choose FNU?
I decided on FNU after looking at many schools through the Navy College program. I ended up deciding to pick FNU because it offered a Computer Information Technology path that I thought would be best.
10. As a distance learner, you took most, if not all, of your courses online. How was that experience? Did you like it in comparison to a traditional classroom setting?
Being able to take all of my classes via distance learning was a great thing since I was literally on the opposite corner of the United States from the University. If I ever had questions about my class the professor was a message board or e-mail away. If I ever had questions about required classes or schedule issues Yolanda Navarro was at the other end of the phone making sure that everything was answered and I was happy with the results. Distance learning work for me due to my busy life of being a single parent of two and a United States Sailor. It gave me the flexibility to work on my class work when I was able, not at a specific time and place that would interrupt family time or work.
11. Which was your favorite course?
I would have to say the Visual Basic was my favorite course. I loved making programs to use, and I think it will become what I pursue for my BS in the future.
12. Who was your favorite professor?
I can’t pick on professor as a favorite as they all did a great job communicating with us via the message boards. They were all quick to answer any question and clarify anything.
13. Do you plan to go for a Bachelor’s degree? If yes, have you chosen a school yet? Major?
I will eventually be going to a BS, and at this time I am looking at Florida State University. They offer a BS in Computer Science that will allow me to get any number of jobs from programmer, web designer, or high school teacher.
14. Do you plan to get a commission?
My intention is to retire at the end of my current enlistment and not get a commission.
15. It must be pretty hectic to juggle being a mother, a service member and a college student all at once. How do you manage?
My children helped out with the juggling of everything that was going on. We would all work on homework at the same time, and if I had to continue working on something they would happily let me continue to work while finding something to do or a game to play. There were days that dinner was a little later than normal or sometimes sooner, but everyone helped out. I wouldn’t have completed my degree if it hadn’t been for my kids.