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With APSU Online, student to earn 2nd bachelor's; online master's degree in military history is next for Hermitage businessman

After Austin Peay State University student Steven Graeter completed the National Survey of Student Engagement, given to assess student experiences at Austin Peay, the Hermitage businessman decided to add a personal note at the end of the survey, directed to APSU President Sherry Hoppe.

He wrote, As a nontraditional student working 40-plus hours per week and pursuing a second degree, it is important to be able to take classes online. I commend you and Austin Peay for committing to students, such as myself, who are unable to come to campus for our education.
After Austin Peay State University student Steven Graeter completed the National Survey of Student Engagement, given to assess student experiences at Austin Peay, the Hermitage businessman decided to add a personal note at the end of the survey, directed to APSU President Sherry Hoppe.

He wrote, “As a nontraditional student working 40-plus hours per week and pursuing a second degree, it is important to be able to take classes online. I commend you and Austin Peay for committing to students, such as myself, who are unable to come to campus for our education.

“The commitment by Austin Peay State University to add online classes was the primary factor in my decision to attend the University over … other worthy institutions in the state.”

Currently working as an integration analyst on his firm's Service Quality Team, Graeter earned his first bachelor's degreein geology23 years ago from Florida Atlanta University.

Now, through APSU Online, Graeter is pursuing a second bachelor's degree in political science, with a focus on international relations and criminal justice/homeland security.

Planning to continue graduate work, Graeter is leaning toward APSU's online Master of Arts in Military History, in part as a tribute to his cousin Marine Lance Cpl. Patrick Nixon who was killed March 23, 2003, in Iraq. According to Graeter, Nixon wanted to be a history professor when he finished his military service.

“The events of Sept. 11, 2001, had a great impact on my life, as it did on most Americans. It shaped my world view and made homeland security my emphasis and interest,” Graeter said. “Before I'm through at APSU, I'll probably take every terrorism and global security course at the University. I have deliberately designed my program around this coursework.”

Graeter's ultimate career goal is to be part of his company's internal security group. With more than 60,000 practitioners globally, the firm's internal security group deals with many global issues that can affect the firm's employees, including avian flu and terrorism.

“I am grateful to APSU's continuing commitment to online educationsecond to nonethat enables busy working adults like me to pursue our educational goals,” Graeter said. “In fact, I have observed that Austin Peay is the only public university in the entire Southeast with a significant core curriculum in homeland security.

“Believe me, I know that last statistic very well because I have spent hours of research in the curriculum, catalogs and schedules of just about every senior-level institution in the region, looking for online programs emphasizing homeland security and terrorism. No other university offers as much depth on the subject nor offers as many online programs as Austin Peay.”

But, according to Graeter, these advantages of online education pale in comparison to the second and most important reason he chose Austin Peay over other schools.

“Perhaps the greatest benefit to receiving an Austin Peay online education is the fact that many of our military personnel based at Fort Campbell, Ky., also are taking Web-based classes through programs offered at APSU. I want them to know that there are people in our community like me who appreciate and believe in them. To this end, my ability to interact with all these men and womenwhom I consider to be heroesis extremely important to me.”

For more information about Austin Peay's many online courses and 12 fully online degrees, go to www.apsu.edu and click on APSU Online. -- Dennie B. Burke