September 21, 2023

Degree helps Moreno accomplish his goals

Mike MorenoA self-described “career student,” Mike Moreno, 46, knows the importance of getting an education to further – and meet—your career goals.

While working as a code compliance officer in Hallandale, Fla., in early 2009, Moreno decided to alter his career path toward one of his passions: the environment.  Moreno started scouring various colleges in South Florida.

“I started looking, but because of scheduling conflicts, I started looking online for a degree in environmental management. I found CSU and it covered everything I was looking for,” Moreno said. Soon, the Coast Guard Reservist began working toward his master’s degree in occupational safety and health/environmental management.

After finishing his coursework, Moreno learned about an environmental inspector job opening with the Public Works Department in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., his hometown.  Fate smiled.

“You needed a four-year degree and I exceeded that with the master’s degree and my military background,” he said.

In fact, the degree helped him achieve a more desirable rate (job title) in the Coast Guard. He worked out of his job as a port security specialist to a marine science technician in May 2009, which he had been working toward for about five years. “The degree was a win-win. Not only did it help my civilian career, but it helped my military career as well,” added Moreno, a former U.S. Army staff sergeant.

“My experience with CSU has been excellent,” he said. “One of first things I noticed when I found the university was the structured system and easy access. It is far superior to anything out there.”

Moreno also says the online education experience “is not that much different than being in a brick-and-mortar classroom.  However, “you are more interactive online than you would be in class. You get more attention in the online classes, especially compared to class with 50-plus students,” he commented.

Another high point for Moreno about CSU was the class books policy, which he referred to often when telling friends about CSU. “What impressed me was that the books are included in the price of tuition.  No other college offered that. That’s why I came back to pursue another online degree.”

The degree he’s speaking of is a master’s degree in business administration with emphasis on human resources management. Moreno is seeking the degree “in case, later on, I want to go into management.”

Recently, Moreno worked with the Coast Guard in the Orange Beach-Gulf Shores, Ala.,  area as part of an effort to respond to and monitor pollution calls related to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  He believes his future master’s degree “is going to help with future oil spill responses. Hopefully, we’ll never have another one of this magnitude. My experiences and education can help me educate other Coast Guard members in responding to other oil hazards.”

Moreno’s work to clean the beaches is just the latest expression of his concern for the environment. “We have to preserve what we have and do our best to make it better,” he said. “Since I’m so connected to the ocean, I started getting involved in saving marine life.”

This explains his involvement in the Sea Turtle Oversight Protection group in Broward County, Fla. Its purpose to rescue and release disoriented sea turtle hatchlings. He also enjoys underwater photography and scuba diving.  “When you get involved with the sea life and ecosystem down there, you see the world in a different perspective,” Moreno said.