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Life Balance

Navy Vet & Military Wife Pursues DBA from Saint Leo University

Life Balance

Posted by Greg Lindberg on Aug 1, 2017 11:11:48 AM

Stephanie Lee.pngStephanie Lee knows all about time management. Not only was the 29-year-old a Navy sailor for 3 years, but she has also pursued higher education and is working toward even more.

Lee, a native of Salem, Oregon, has already attained two degrees from Saint Leo University – a bachelor’s degree in business with a focus on technology management and an MBA with a concentration in project management. She is now working on a third – a Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA) through the university’s online program.

Lee explains how finances played a big role in her choice to enlist in the military.

“My family didn’t have the money for me to go to college, and I just couldn’t afford to go myself and work at the same time,” she says. “Going into the military allowed me to get that regular paycheck and be able to earn my education.”

She was an E4 Navy petty officer third class and served aboard the USS John C. Stennis out of Bremerton, Wash. She also completed training in New York and South Carolina.

Living with a Military Spouse

With her husband, Clark, currently serving in the Navy, taking her courses online rather than in a traditional classroom setting has been a tremendous convenience for her.

“Changing schools every time we move is not something I want to do,” she confides. “Online learning is a little different, but as long as you’re willing to ask the right questions and know what you’re getting out of it, you’ll be fine. You just have to take control of the classes so that you get as much out of them as you really want.”

Even though being married to someone in the military can be challenging, Lee is grateful for her own experience.

“I’m in a better position than most spouses because I was in his shoes and know what he goes through,” she says. “The biggest thing for me is being able to find a new job whenever we move.”

The Lees reside in Pensacola, Fla. where her husband is stationed. She currently has a full-time position with UTC Aerospace Systems as a quality engineer at its location in Foley, Ala. Earning her DBA from Saint Leo would signal just the start of a much bigger career goal.

“I want to be a consultant to help develop new employees in organizations to become future leaders,” she explains. “We need to analyze how these individuals are being trained.”

Balancing Military Work & Education

When she was in the Navy, and even now with a full-time job, Lee says you have to be cognizant of the hands on the clock to balance everything as best as you can.

“You really have to develop good time management skills,” she advises. “For example, I’ve learned that I can write papers pretty quickly. But if something else pops up, I have to shift my focus and prioritize. I also have to find some time to relax.”

When she does find some spare time, she hits the gym, plays golf with her co-workers, catches some sun at the beach, or reads a good book.

Choosing Saint Leo University

Lee first learned about Saint Leo while living in Corpus Christi, Tex. where the school has an education center at the Naval Air Station there.

“I really like the overall attitude of Saint Leo,” she says. “They offer quick turnaround on certain classes that are only 8 weeks long. I get bored easily, so when classes go on too long in a semester, my attention span starts to taper off. I can also text, call or e-mail my professors, which is so convenient. Having them get back to me in a reasonable time makes me happy.”

In terms of staying connected with fellow students in her DBA program, Lee says it’s the discussions that students have on the online portal that help keep her connected.

“The DBA program has lots of discussion opportunities on the course site, and I’ve gotten to know the other students in my classes better because of that,” she says. “It helps to have that support system in place.”

She recalls Professor Ortega was one of her first instructors in the bachelor’s program who had a real impact on me.” She adds that the instructors in her MBA program were also memorable.

“They went beyond just giving out information in the classes. They took the knowledge I was learning and showed me how it applied to the real world – and how to be a manager and a leader.”

Let Us Tell Your Story

Are you a current or former Saint Leo University student with a military background? We’d love to share your story. E-mail Greg Lindberg at greg.lindberg@saintleo.edu for consideration.

Topics: Balancing work and college

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