After 20 years and four deployments as a Section Sergeant in the U.S. Army, Grantham University Data Analyst Steve Kaestner understands first-hand the challenges that come with serving our country – not just on the front-line, but back home, as well. Finding the right career or job can be a struggle for many veterans. Grantham University was founded by a veteran as a way for other veterans to better their lives, and the military-friendly school remains committed to veterans through its affordable, targeted online degree programs.
We had the opportunity to sit down with Steve and get to know more about Grantham’s military history as well as his own.
Grantham University: What does Grantham’s military history mean to you?
Steve Kaestner: Grantham University’s history is unique in that a veteran founded this school. That alone is something that speaks volumes to potential veterans wanting to further their education. Having a school that has solid roots in the military lets future students know that Grantham can relate to both civilian and military learners.
Donald Grantham, the founder, was also an instructor in the University’s early years. This goes to show the passion and belief he had in his school, as well as in the military and civilian students he taught.
GU: Do the military-friendly values on which Grantham was founded still resonate today?
SK: This belief is still with Grantham today. [Grantham offers] a chance to adult learners that have various backgrounds and come from many walks of life, creating a robust learning atmosphere. I appreciate that Grantham is military-friendly in the classroom, and as an employer. In today’s higher education market, Grantham University provides a quality education to those who may want [to pursue alternative] avenues to achieve success.
GU: Why is Grantham a good choice for veterans or active duty service members and their families?
SK: Grantham University is flexible to meet the needs of future students. We know that being in the military does not always constitute a 9-to-5 job. Sometimes it becomes 24/7. While military students are away on training, in the field, or deployed, they can still attend class. Family members of those in the military are also embraced, because we know that it’s tough being a spouse to someone who is serving. Being flexible to service members and their families, while offering an education that can be pursued any time of day from almost anywhere, is what makes Grantham a unique military-friendly environment.
GU: Can you talk a little more about the relationships between Grantham educators and military students?
SK: Grantham embraces military servicemembers and their families as students wanting to better themselves, and truly understands what it’s like to be a warrior and a student. Many of our staff and faculty have similar [backgrounds as] our students, both having shared a common bond at one point in time. From our founder to our current-day campus president, military ties are very strong within this organization, and this tradition will continue.
GU: Did Grantham’s position as a military-friendly school influence your decision to work here? If yes, how?
SK: I started with Grantham in 2008. I had just returned from a deployment from Kosovo, and received a call from a friend who was employed with Grantham. It seemed like the perfect fit.
GU: Were you ever deployed again? If so, was Grantham understanding?
SK: I did receive orders for another deployment in 2010, this time to Djibouti. My department was sad to see me go but understood that I had two careers. Grantham sent me off with warm wishes and kept in touch. When I returned home in 2011, I was able to call and receive my old job without a hitch, and received two raises I was due!
GU: In what other ways does Grantham demonstrate its commitment to being military-friendly?
SK: Throughout the organization there are many veterans, military spouses, and those who are currently serving who understand our military student body and what they endure. I have also taken classes at Grantham and received the same warm embrace that all the students receive.
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