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Alumni Success

United States Navy and Army Veteran, Discovered Passion for Helping Others During Military Service That Took Him Around the World

Michael R. Carter is a dual service veteran, serving in both the United States Navy and the United States Army. He’s currently working as a senior configuration manager for Sierra Management and Technologies in California, MD. He explains that his career path was far from traditional, starting in the Navy right out of high school. “My job in the Navy was as an electronics technician and I was posted to two overseas duty stations and one ship. I eventually enlisted in the Army, assigned to the Signal Corp as an electronics technician.” Carter served as an drill instructor (‘H’ and ‘X’ designated) and trained soldiers on both leadership and military occupational specialties.

Michael’s military service took him around the country and the world. “My travels around the country and world greatly informed my understanding and knowledge of cultural diversity, both within the continental United States and overseas. I greatly enjoyed my travels and have maintained a lifetime interest in people from different cultures around the country and the world at large.” Michael considers his military service to be a great honor. “I consider it a privilege to have served alongside a number of outstanding individuals while in the military, as well as in civilian life. I also consider achieving the ‘brown round’, the Drill Sergeant designation and ‘hat’, as a significant honor as well.”

Today, Michael is working for a government contractor, supporting a variety of communications systems projects in southern Maryland. These projects are assigned to and support all major branches of the United States military. “As a configuration manager, I provide oversight assistance in reviewing and standardizing all communications electronics systems in order to ensure that each system is built to standard and can be replicated. As part of this effort, I also review technical documentation such as operator and maintenance manuals and training materials as an example.”

Michael is an active student member of the ACA (American Counseling Association) and has attended the past two local APA (American Psychological Association) conventions as a student member. He’s also a member of the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students (APAGS). Within his local community, Michael volunteers with his church at the food pantry and is a member of the church Vestry.

Michael’s educational path was also nontraditional, starting with military education as an electronics technician and professional military/drill instructor. He also took a number of college courses as a continuing education adult student, including electrical engineering and information systems technology. But his passion for helping others eventually led him to psychology. “I found, as I went to college throughout my adult life that a technical degree just didn’t satisfy me to the extent that getting a degree in the social sciences did. This was directly supported by my exposure to rudimentary counseling training received while in the military [where] I had numerous opportunities to practice such skills. I consistently enjoyed the challenges of working with people in solving their problems. This was maintained throughout my working career, regardless of position.”

Michael states that the greatest challenge he faced in completing his college education was his age. “Most people of my age demographic would not consider going back to college, never mind completing their degree at that time.” He also worked hard to gain admittance to graduate school. “Managing time, maintaining focus on study—these were significant challenges to master and overcome in the course of achieving a degree. I am very pleased to find that I was able to do so and have achieved a great deal of satisfaction as a result.”

Michael decided to return to school at the prompting of his partner. “She had also graduated from Argosy University with a doctorate degree and essentially set an example of the type of graduate [the school] produces.” In 2014, Michael earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Argosy University, Washington, D.C. He earned a Chancellor’s scholarship and graduated Magna Cum Laude.

He adds that his undergraduate experience influenced his decision to pursue graduate education. He’s currently working toward a Master of Arts in Community Counseling at the school. His ultimate goal is to work with military veterans, with a specialty in PTSD and TBI trauma. “I selected this program in large part because it is best suited in setting me up to achieve those goals. My education to date, both at the undergraduate and graduate level, has progressively built a solid foundation to support my ultimate educational goal of achieving a doctorate in counseling as well. This point cannot be understated.”

Michael soon discovered additional benefits of being an Argosy University, Washington, D.C. graduate. “[The school] has an excellent reputation amongst local practitioners in terms of the quality of graduates it produces [and] I found that the campus and coursework schedules best suited my lifestyle, both professionally and privately.” Like many veterans who transition from military life for student life, Michael says that the self-discipline, dedication, and focus on goals he gained in the military helped him in his educational pursuits. He adds that the school’s staff encouraged him to dig deeper when he faced challenges. “The instructors consistently shared real world experiences relative to the subject matter at hand. Such shared experiences contributed significantly to the learning process and I’m very grateful for this.”

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