Dozen U.S. military members earn master’s degrees thanks to unique partnerships

August 14, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Jason Schneider said his Penn State degree will allow him to bring innovative ideas he learned through his coursework back to the military. For U.S. Army Sgt. Maj. Julio Armas, he said his degree program can help transform the way the Army teaches its senior noncommissioned officers.

The two are part of a dozen members of the U.S. military who will earn their master’s degrees from Penn State on Saturday, Aug. 15, thanks to a pair of special partnerships between the military and University.

Schneider and Lt. Col. Matthew Bain will graduate with a master of supply chain management after completing their degrees through a special program between the Marine Corps, Penn State World Campus and the Smeal College of Business.

Schneider, who is stationed in Quantico, Virginia, said learning new ideas and techniques outside of the military structure will allow him to stay at the forefront of innovation.

“There’s some overlap in what you learn, but you get exposed to different things than you’d get from a military-run graduate school,” he said. “The biggest takeaway was all of the exposure to innovation in supply chain management. That’s huge for the Marine Corps to see how academia and industry can work together for us to pull into whatever we’re doing.”  

The two officers completed the Marines Corps Logistics Fellowship Program at Penn State, which condenses the two-year supply chain management program offered online through the World Campus into a hybrid program that combines online courses with classes master of business administration students take at the University Park campus.

Bain, who now serves as second in command of a military school with more than 100 faculty and staff that manages advanced logistics and training and education for the entire Marine Corps, said he can bring new ideas from the Penn State program to his new post.

“As an educational institution, we need to stay plugged in to the state of the art for our curriculum,” he said. “Being able to influence our program with what I learned from Penn State will help make better logistics leaders for the future of the Corps.”

Like Bain, Armas will serve as an educator after being one of 10 U.S. Army sergeants major who earned their master’s of education in lifelong learning and adult education, thanks to the partnership between Penn State World Campus, the College of Education and the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy Fellowship Program.

After completing their degrees in one year, fellows will teach three years in the Sergeants Major Course, which prepares the military’s next generation of leaders with the skills they need on and off the battlefield.

Armas said the curriculum taught him how to engage with soldiers differently.

“I've gained a great understanding and respect for thinking about what you're going to say and how you're going to present the material for people to get that critical thinking going,” he said. “You learn to make that human connection and know how to guide the conversation to where it needs to be. You let them feel comfortable and build themselves a connection between peer to peer.”

“It’s a great example of distance learning at its best.”

Visit the Penn State World Campus website for more information on how it serves service members, veterans and military families.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated August 27, 2020