Jennifer Johnson ’19 MBA recently graduated from Florida Tech’s Southern Maryland education center, but her time as a Panther student is far from over.
Through the same center, today Jennifer is enrolled in an additional two master’s degree programs: acquisition and contract management and technology management.
After earning her bachelor’s degree in child development form California Polytechnic State University, Jennifer began working as an eighth-grade teacher. However, her teaching career only lasted a couple of years before she decided to join the U.S. Air Force and work as a supply officer. She later moved into a logistics role and eventually transitioned to logistics officer.
Jennifer spent 20 years in this role before retiring and moving to southern Maryland, where she began working for the logistics department at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station (NAS). After 5 years, an opportunity arose for her to return to work for the Air Force while remaining at the NAS base.
Today, Jennifer is chief of logistics for the AIM 9X Sidewinder program, a short-range air-to-air missile, working technically on the Air Force part of the program but side by side with the Navy. The responsibility is hefty.
“The most important part is making sure that the government gets its money’s worth in whatever it buys and that what we use is safe and good for America,” Jennifer says.
Jennifer joined the military for the job security, impressive health insurance and the GI Bill, providing educational assistance to servicemembers, veterans and their dependents, which she has taken full advantage of through her Florida Tech education. But her military experience has also impacted her perspective and the quality of her work.
“I think it has a lot to do with maturity, having dealt with so many different people on so many different levels,” Jennifer says. “And dealing with so many different types of problems and issues helps a lot.”
Likewise, her Florida Tech coursework, with practical applications and collaborative teamwork, directly benefits her performance and career.
“I think a lot of what I learned in economics and the strategic accounting has helped a lot in how I organize my work,” she says. “I’m just a little more organized in my thoughts and more pinpointed to where the real problem is, not paying so much attention to the background noise and zeroing in on the issue.”
Having also been accepted into the DBA program, which is only available on our main campus in Melbourne, Florida, Jennifer decided to enroll through the education center nearest her, allowing her to study without quitting her job or relocating.
Keeping up with work, school and personal life has been a difficult balancing act, Jennifer says, but the key has been her support system: Anita Kriner, who is the senior administrator at her education center and helped her map out a plan for executing her dual degree programs, her supportive husband, understanding co-workers and college-age daughters with whom she swaps papers for mutual proofreading.
“It’s kind of funny. I started the MBA right after my youngest daughter went to college. It was kind of like the time that I’d spent doing parent meetings and going to games and going to performances … just kind of turned into going to class and studying.”
Her goal is to keep “living the good life,” so for now, she follows the same advice she gives to other students pursuing an advanced degree.
“Just keep going. Make time, because it’s easy to find the time to do it, and it’s easy to regret not doing it.”
The Southern Maryland location is one of 10 Florida Tech education centers across the country where students receive traditional face-to-face classroom teaching supplemented by the latest web-based instructional technologies, all driven by the same innovation, quality and care that students find on our residential campus.