Veteran Student Story – Shamika Hamilton

Strayer University  |  Opening Employment Doors  |

Published in the May/June 2012 issue of print Search & Employ®  |

Shamika Hamilton left the active duty component of the Army as a sergeant. She is now an Army Reservist and, thanks to continuing her education, a quality assurance specialist for the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA). On the job, she inspects the parts that go into nuclear submarines.

Hamilton found success after earning two master’s degrees from Strayer University – one in Business, and the other in Public Administration. She was also selected as a Presidential Management Fellow.

“A military friend suggested Strayer University to me,” Hamilton said. “His sister was attending school there and recommended that I try it as well. Strayer University didn’t seem like a university that was pushing degrees and deadlines on people. Instead, Strayer worked with your own lifestyle and pace and emphasized a quality education. Strayer was the only online school I saw at the time offering military or government discounts, which drew me in – and I’ve been happy ever since.”

Strayer University provides undergraduate and graduate degree programs and classes throughout the year. The university offers flexible class schedules, convenient campus locations, and online learning opportunities. Undergraduate and graduate degree programs are available in Business Administration, Accounting, Information Technology, Human Resource Management, Education, Health Services Administration, Public Administration, and Criminal Justice. Select programs have been approved as VA (Department of Veterans Affairs) programs of study under the VA’s educational benefits regulations.

Looking back, Hamilton wishes she had restarted her education earlier. “I would recommend that men and women go to school while in the military because the military strongly supports education,” she said. “Not too many organizations are as understanding as the military is when it comes to higher education. Had I done so, I probably would’ve been promoted higher in the Army.”

A lot of what Hamilton learned in the military, however, played a role in her successful education. “The military taught me discipline, time management, and to not make excuses,” she said. “It prepared me for facing obstacles that the average person is probably not prepared for. The Army has taught me not to be stagnant, but instead to be productive and pursue goals and dreams.”

Hamilton believes that Strayer University was the perfect place for her. “Strayer University gives you the freedom to go at your own pace and is also appreciative and understanding of military backgrounds,” she said. “I was in Iraq last year, and my teachers understood technical problems and worked through those with me. Also, their scholarships really attracted me to their programs. I love going to school online and wouldn’t have it any other way. Strayer gave me the freedom to be me and still complete my coursework. I’ve recommended Strayer to my sister and friends, who are all pursuing degrees there now. Just choose your program of study wisely and gear it toward what is applicable in the field.”

She recommends that servicemembers and veterans take their time when considering their futures so they can make wise decisions. “I would tell them to choose their degrees wisely,” Hamilton said. “It’s important to look at the economy and the future of particular jobs. I got my Masters of Public Administration because it is more tailored, which is attractive to employers.”

Hamilton believes that her education and military experience have opened a lot of employment doors for now and will continue to do so in the future. “The government rewards higher education,” she said. “I was selected for the Presidential Management program, which is difficult to obtain. Strayer recommended me for this fellowship program and was very supportive in helping me organize all of the submission material in a very short time frame. More than 90,000 students applied this year and only 628 were selected.”

“My graduate degree got me a foot in the door, and being a veteran helped because the government likes to show it gives back to vets. I’ve found that with my two master’s degrees from Strayer, I am very sought-after by future government employers for senior level positions. They have told me that I have stood out because of my degrees. I would like to be in a director role in the government one day soon.”

About the Author

This article was written by Jay Myers