Daniel Schultz joined the U.S. Coast Guard in 2006 with solid expectations and aspirations, welcoming the transition into military life. “I joined the Coast Guard because they are a life-saving service. I also was told that the military encourages education and self-development. I knew that I would get a great opportunity to travel, gain valuable experience serving my country as well as gaining a stable income.”
Now, more than 10 years later, another transition is taking place; he is applying those same expectations and aspirations while pursuing a master’s degree in occupational safety and health. Moving forward, with degree in hand and a wealth of experience, he hopes to “help assist and develop [former military members] that want to enter, or continue to work in the environmental health and safety field.”
He understands that transitioning from military life into a civilian world can be challenging. “I have already helped out a few previous coworkers that are making the change.” While in the Coast Guard, he learned many valuable lessons that smoothly transitioned into his overall academic and life goals. Some of the most valuable lessons he learned during his time with the Coast Guard were the importance of education and the importance of mentoring and developing your coworkers.
When asked why he specifically chose CSU, Schultz recalls looking at a number of programs within the environmental health and safety field. Columbia Southern University stood out because “first and foremost, it is accredited by the BCSP – Board Certified Safety Professionals.” Secondly, after carefully reviewing each course in the program, he found that “ALL of the courses interested and appealed to me.” Now as a student, Schultz continues to support the masters of occupational safety and health program by assisting other students invest time at this pivotal transition in their life. As the current president of the CSU Student Veterans Association, he strives to “help set the military members up for success and help them out with their transition.” He believes that by “spending some time developing and training others, you increase their professional knowledge as well as make a higher quality product and make the job easier” for all involved.
According to Schultz, utilizing military educational benefits is a key factor to success. Throughout his experiences mentoring co-workers, he found that “many members fail to take advantage of the tuition assistance program and the GI Bill.” In the interest of professional development beyond the military, Schultz has “found that the lack of a formal education often holds [military members] back, in spite of being qualified for the positions.” His advice? “Ditch the excuses.” All students have obstacles, however, to overcome and for Schultz, time management and self-discipline were the largest obstacles. His way of approaching these self-identified obstacles were to begin designating times to do homework when not working. “There are many times when I am beat and the last thing that I want to do is homework but I keep reminding myself it will be worth it in the end.”
Throughout these career and educational transitions, Schultz has maintained a firm commitment to education, self-development and teamwork. He states, “what I am learning at CSU is transferable not only to my civilian employer but also my coworkers in the Coast Guard Reserve. I hope to make both workplaces safer for all of the employees. As for me professionally, my ultimate goal is to become a certified safety professional.”
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