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Grad student applies master's degree to career in the Air Force


Portrait of ASU master's student Thomas Morgan.

“I've relearned the lesson that public service is a noble, respectful calling, and being able to serve in the international arena, assumedly on behalf of the United States, is a deeply profound environment in which to problem-solve and develop both as a leader and as a person." — Thomas Morgan

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November 18, 2022

Thomas Morgan’s multifaceted approach to life has allowed him to deepen his understanding of international affairs and apply his knowledge to his career in the United States Air Force.

For four years, Morgan served as a Major and C-130J Instructor Pilot at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. He was recently offered the chance to serve in Vicenza, Italy, as a liaison officer to the U.S. Army’s 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team. 

Working overseas encouraged Morgan to study for his online Master of Arts in international affairs and leadership (MA IAL) through Arizona State University’s School of Politics and Global Studies, a degree that works with affiliates from ASU's Leadership, Diplomacy and National Security Lab. 

“We often work with multiple partner nations in an effort to build and enhance relationships across Europe and Africa through routine exercises and training missions — a premise firmly rooted in concepts of (the degree program),” Morgan said. 

As part of the MA program, Morgan attended a week of discussions and excursions in Washington, D.C., helping further his mastery in international affairs.

Washington Week allows attendees to participate in a week-long seminar in Washington, D.C., where they are able to meet with leaders across the country that contribute to their critical insight into the inner workings of diplomatic affairs. 

The program, offered through ASU Online, also allows students to engage with other nation’s diplomats, including representatives from the United Nations and other peacekeeping institutes. 

Beyond exposure to academia, Morgan says the vast majority of speakers are available for further mentorship, making the program “a completely unique and world-class experience.” 

Morgan’s main takeaway from Washington Week is that there is a plethora of avenues to being a leader in international affairs and that students are able to decide what is the best fit for them. 

“I've relearned the lesson that public service is a noble, respectful calling, and being able to serve in the international arena, assumedly on behalf of the United States, is a deeply profound environment in which to problem-solve and develop both as a leader and as a person,” Morgan said. 

Morgan plans to take his findings from his degree and apply them to his career in the Air Force, contributing to a global footprint of problem-solvers and facilitators.

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