Homeland Security Graduate Uses Degree to Complement Professional Experience

EKU Online > Homeland Security Graduate Uses Degree to Complement Professional Experience

Jeffrey Benton, a homeland security graduate, grew up in Estill County, Kentucky less than 20 miles from Eastern Kentucky University’s campus. After graduating from high school, Benton joined the Air Force and began a 20-year military career, which took him all over the world.

Antiterrorism Program Manager

After retiring from the military, he continued to work in antiterrorism after first being introduced to the field when he was deployed to Kuwait after 9/11. He now works as an Antiterrorism Program Manager for the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA). DLA manages the end-to-end global defense supply chain – from raw materials to end user disposition – for the five military services, 11 combatant commands, other federal, state and local agencies, and partner and allied nations.

In his role, Benton develops antiterrorism policy and guidance for DLA headquarters (HQ DLA) and all sites which report to HQ DLA. He also originates and develops plans, programs and procedures for the performance of security program evaluations in HQ and field activities worldwide.

He decided to build upon his professional experience and take full advantage of his post-9/11 GI Bill benefits in 2012 when he returned to school to complete his bachelor’s degree in homeland security with EKU Online.

“I knew that if I ever wanted to move outside DOD, a degree would be important,” said Benton. “I enjoy working in the field of antiterrorism and the endeavors I’ve pursued in the field. Going into the program, I knew that a homeland security degree would be a good complement to my work experience to help with potential future opportunities.”

Impressed by the EKU Homeland Security Program

Although Benton was familiar with EKU, he was especially impressed by the homeland security program when he started thinking about returning to school. “When I started researching schools to use my post-9/11 GI Bill benefits, EKU stood out due to their faculty expertise, program strength and reputation of being one of the best for vets,” Benton said. “Now living in Arlington, VA I was excited by the prospect of completing my degree at a school I was familiar with and had a great national reputation.”

Benton said that in addition to no commute, the greatest benefit of the online program was its flexibility. “Assignments had deadlines, but I could work to complete them throughout the week within the timeframe of my life and responsibilities,” said Benton. “I was able to make the coursework fit the pace of my life.”

Benton admits he had some reservations about returning to school as an adult learner. “As a non-traditional student, would I be the oldest in the class, older than the instructor even? And how would that impact the social interaction within the class,” wondered Benton.

Student Diversity

However, those concerns were quickly addressed when Benton realized his classes included a range of ages, and diverse opinions and experience. That diversity of ages and experience ended up enhancing the interactions and became one of Benton’s favorite parts of the homeland security program. “The teamwork and projects provided the opportunity to enjoy a diversity of perspectives from all across the country. I enjoyed learning differing views and thoughts from the instructors as well as other students,” said Benton.

Being exposed to a variety of courses and perspectives also aided Benton in his career. “The interaction I had with classmates and instructors provided a better understanding of working, communicating, and understanding younger people, which is a great added benefit outside of the courses required to obtain a degree,” Benton said. 

He further elaborated, “I oversee more than 27,000 personnel located in 48 states and 28 countries with the assistance of a great team of people. The course materials dovetailed nicely with my responsibilities and experience, but also provided a broad spectrum of additional resources and viewpoints that can be applied to our day-to-day mission and responsibilities.”

Benton is especially thankful for the support EKU faculty and staff provided him as he completed his degree. “My advisor, Lindsay Greenwell, was phenomenal and always went above and beyond in her role.”

Benton also speaks highly of the feedback provided by the instructors, which helped him learn and develop as a student. He says that faculty were always there to answer questions and work within his schedule to help him achieve his goals.

Interested in joining EKU’s online homeland security bachelor’s degree program?

Earn your bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited university that has been an online education leader for over 15 years. Our flexible, online format provides students the ability to complete coursework and assignments according to their schedule.

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