Co-Worker Interview: Pursuing Higher Education While Working

Posted on Wednesday, May 11th, 2016 by
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continuing education

This week, we interviewed two Affinis co-workers who are pursuing new degrees and asked them for their take on continuing education. We sat down with Aubrey Meyer, a professional land surveyor who is working towards his bachelor’s degree in Geography with a certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). We also spoke with Jason Davis, the Vice President of Federal Services, who will complete his Master of Science in Geological Engineering this spring. Aubrey is currently taking courses through Metropolitan Community College of Kansas City-Longview, but plans to transfer to UMKC to complete his degree. On the other hand, Jason will receive his master’s from the Missouri School of Science and Technology, Rolla.

What sparked your interest in continuing your education efforts?
Aubrey: I have always intended on completing a degree at some point and have had an increasing interest in GIS the past few years.

Jason: I enjoy the geotechnical/geological component of projects and found more and more of the projects I worked on had those kinds of requirements.

What made you take the leap?
Aubrey: Recently, we have been receiving Federal Solicitations that specifically require a Geographer to be assigned to the project. This combined with the growing field of GIS helped me take that leap. I felt this degree path would suit my interests and align with future, potential projects at Affinis.

Jason: The program is offered through Fort Leonard Wood. I received some credit hours through the course work I had taken during my Engineer Officers Career Course. This provided a jump start to my degree.

Are there other areas you’d like to explore next? Or, is this it?
Aubrey: I am taking it one step at a time. For the time being, this is it.

Jason: I have no desire to obtain a doctorate degree, so this is it for me.

How do you balance work with school?
Aubrey: I am limiting myself to eight or nine credit hours a semester. While attempting to work 40 hours a week, this can be a bit exhausting at times. My co-workers have been great and are willing to pitch in as needed to help me keep up with my project duties. As far as school work, nights and weekends seem to afford me the time I need to complete my coursework.

Jason: Nights, weekends, and lunch hours were the windows of time when I worked on my courses.

What advice would you give someone who’s considering expanding their education?
Aubrey: Get enrolled and start taking courses. The time commitment does not get easier the longer you wait.

Jason: If you want to do it, do not hesitate. This would have been much easier from a time stand point had I finished this when I was younger with less time demands.

Are there any resources you’d recommend for those who would like to further develop their skills?
Aubrey: Develop relationships with your instructors. More often than not, they are there to help you succeed and will help you if you are willing to take the time to ask. They can be valuable resources as you progress in your education.

Jason: Yes, join the Army. They have excellent education benefits, and you get to see some really nice parts of the world. All joking aside (sorta), there are distance learning programs out there that allow you to receive a “certificate” that require only a handful of course hours and provide more in depth specific education. These may be of value for more specific topics.

What are some of your tips for making the most out of it?
Aubrey: It is easy to get overwhelmed juggling work and school. Make sure to spend time with family and continue to do things you enjoy.

Jason: Integrate what you learn from the courses into your work. I’ve already been able to apply some of the items learned in classes on projects.

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