July 23, 2024

Mastering Self Growth: A San Diego Police Officer’s Educational Journey and a Heartwarming Homemade Graduation Ceremony

San Diego Police Officer Travis Hamby traces the roots of his love for law enforcement back to the 1980’s as a child who was fascinated with cop shows. After becoming a California Highway Patrol Explorer in high school, Travis knew he found his life’s calling.

“I was raised under the belief system to always do what is right, and the San Diego Police Department allows me to do just that,” he said. “I get to be a sheep dog in my city and stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves.”

The San Diego Police Department has been home to Travis for 15 years out of the 19 he has been in law enforcement. While in that role, he acknowledged the importance of personal development and began planning for the inevitable day of retirement.

“I knew if I wanted to have a potentially successful second career after law enforcement then I would need to further my education,” he said.

The idea of going back to school full-time as a working adult with a family was nerve-racking for Travis, but he knew it was an opportunity to gain confidence in himself.

“For the longest time felt I was not smart enough to earn my master’s degree,” he said. “I was never a standout student; I struggled earning my bachelor’s degree from Texas State University, so I absolutely felt pursuing my master’s degree was something completely out of reach for me.”

After attending a career fair in the area, Travis found CSU and enrolled in the master’s program for emergency services management.

“At this point of my career, earning my master’s degree has been more of a personal benefit,” he said. “Achieving what I did from CSU has given me confidence that if I focus on anything, I can do it; I am my only limitation.”

One thing that made going back to school a little bit easier was the support of Travis’s employer as a CSU Learning Partner.

“Having my employer as a CSU Learning Partner had its benefits,” he said. “The initial perk was being made aware of CSU, and of course the tuition discount was appreciated. The best part was I never felt like I was on a lone journey, I always had a support system at the ready should I need it.”

In 2023, Travis earned his master’s degree in emergency services management. Although he was unable to attend CSU’s commencement ceremony, that did not stop those around him from celebrating his accomplishments.

“I told my co-workers about graduating and how I would’ve liked to have gone,” he said. “They took it upon themselves to host a graduation for me at work. My sergeant and fellow officers were able to procure a podium, microphone, fliers, pamphlets and an audience which included the mayor and some city councilmembers.”

“My keynote speaker was council member Raul Campillo, a two-time Harvard graduate, and he delivered a roast-esque speech to me which entertained the crowd. I even donned a graduation gown and a friend of mine dressed up as a knight. The ceremony was hysterical yet touching. I am very thankful to my friends and co-workers for putting it on for me.”

As his career as a police officer is coming to a close, Travis says he has high hopes his degree will help launch him into his second career in emergency management.

“I’m excited about my future; I plan to retire from law enforcement in 2027 while simultaneously move into a second career,” he said. “My hope is to stay in San Diego and put my EMS degree to work. I still have a desire to help others; I would feel very fortunate if I can achieve that while working in the private sector.”

In his overall experience with going back to school, Travis says the most important thing he has learned is the value of having professional and personal self-growth.

“I realized regardless of having a bachelor’s degree and over 20 years of law enforcement experience, if I were to be successful in a new field, I am going to have to market myself; So, I earned my master’s degree. My advice to others is to ask yourself, what have you done today to make yourself marketable?”

To read more stories like Travis’, visit the features section of the Communicator.

Disclaimer: These testimonials may not reflect the experience of all CSU students.
Multiple factors, including prior experience, geography, and degree field, affect career outcomes.
CSU does not guarantee a job, promotion, salary increase, eligibility for a position, or other career growth.