W. Myles Bjork

W. Myles Bjork, 36
Mobile, Alabama
Information Technology Specialist
Degrees: Degrees: Associate of Arts, Multidisciplinary Studies, 2012;
Master of Science, Information Management – Project Management, 2016;
Master of Science, Business Intelligence, on track for 2021

Myles Bjork chose to serve his country when he joined the U.S. Army in 2000. And he chose Grantham University to advance his career — first in the military and then in the civilian sector. With three Grantham degrees already, Myles is now seeking a fourth, simply because he has witnessed the benefits of a college education first hand.

The Situation

When he joined the Army, Myles provided tactical communication support as a switch operator maintainer at Fort Bragg, NC. Early in his service, he met with a military career counselor who suggested earning a college degree, so he began classes at Grantham to improve himself and become more competitive for military promotions. He earned his Associate of Arts in multidisciplinary studies in 2012, Bachelor of Science in Information Technology in 2014, Master of Science in Information Management – Project Management in 2016, and now he is working on a Master of Science in Business Intelligence.

Promoted to Warrant Officer, Myles served more than ten years in Italy, Kentucky and Alabama, ending his career as an Information Systems Technician. He was deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa and Eastern Europe. After a parachuting injury while on duty, he retired from the military in 2016. Myles’ degrees with his military experience have helped him advance in his civilian career, but he isn’t done yet. He believes his newest degree path will help him advance yet again and better provide for his family.

The Motivation

“Earning my degree in the Army was important in two ways,” Myles said. “It allowed me to grow intellectually and see things from a different and more educated perspective, which allowed me to bring more value to the teams I was helping in and out of country. Secondly, it helped with promotion and pushed me ahead of my peers in the education department. Promotion boards can be very brutal.”

Through his military career, education continued to be a priority despite a demanding schedule and several deployments.

“While I earned my degree, occasionally field exercises or deployments would interrupt a class. However, my instructors were very willing to work with me so I could complete the course. This made me even more committed to a Grantham education,” he said.

Now in the civilian sector, Myles is continuing his education. “I have a great job working for the government publishing office, but I am not done yet, so I have enrolled in a second master’s program to help take me to that next level.”

Located in Mobile, Ala., family is the foundation of what motivates Myles. He and his wife, Sommer, will celebrate their 18th wedding anniversary this December. He wants his family to understand the importance of education and service. His 16-year-old daughter, Gabrielle, plans to attend college at Auburn with aspirations to become a veterinarian, and she is also considering enlisting in the military.  His son, Nathan, is 13 and plans to attend University of Alabama and possibly join the Armed Forces.

The Benefits

Based on his busy military schedule, an online degree program was a necessity for Myles. Grantham’s reputation for serving the military made it a natural fit for him.

“I prefer online and the flexibility of a self-paced curriculum. It works best with my mentality and work ethic,” he said.

Even when deployed, he was able to continue moving forward with his degree. When he needed accommodations, the instructors were there to help him. “Not only are the instructors very helpful, but they are knowledgeable, too,” Myles said. “They have worked in the areas where they teach and can help with real world applications.”

He said the knowledge he gained help him better manage and lead communication efforts with fellow service members, as well as civilians. And the strategy course in Myles’ master’s in Information Management – Project Management program helped him better understand how to manage a company’s assets.

“I learned a lot with the simulation, and even though I didn’t come from a business background, I was in first place for the first few weeks. The course was an eye opener and confidence builder,” he said.

Because it was a new area from him, he reached out to the professor to discuss the course and its objectives. “She was a terrific instructor and we face-timed before the class began so I could understand what I needed to focus on in the course. That was huge.”

Through his career, Myles credits his education for helping him earn promotions in the military and civilian sectors. He hopes one day to be able to give back to other Grantham students.

“Whether as a mentor or instructor, I would love to help other students, the way those at Grantham has helped me achieve my goals,” he said.

The Outcome

Myles currently provides a variety of information technology support for the Government Publishing Office Secure Printing Facility located at Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. His facility prints secure documents for customers including the State Department, Veterans Administration and Department of Transportation.

“Being an Army warrant officer was a prestigious distinction when I retired from the military and my education helped make me even more competitive in the field,” he said. “It was very helpful in securing this position and my previous positions in the civilian sector.”

Myles began his military career as a Switch Operator Maintainer, a 31F/25F military classification, and progressed to a 255A classification as a Warrant Officer — another great achievement. He credits his education with helping him achieve the rank.

“Grantham University has been an important part of my career growth, and I appreciate that and hope to be able to give back to other students,” he said. “If someone is considering earning their degree, they should start now and not stop. It’s important to run your race and make it to the finish, if not for you then for your family.”