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US Army active duty officer reflects on ASU global security program


Portrait of ASU Online student Luke Maclean.

Luke Maclean.

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March 06, 2023

The prospect of grad school can be daunting for anyone, but for someone on active military duty, it can seem downright impossible. However, when Luke Maclean, an officer of the U.S. Army, discovered the Master of Arts in Global Security program, offered through ASU Online via the School of Politics and Global Studies, he knew he could make it happen.

“Going back to grad school while on active duty was initially pretty intimidating, but once I got myself into an academic rhythm, it was actually quite enjoyable,” Maclean said.

The caliber of the faculty and the interdisciplinary nature of the curriculum were also big factors in Maclean’s decision to pursue the program.

“I loved the coursework and the faculty, and the program certainly developed me as a military professional as well. Overall it’s been a fantastic experience.”

Jeff Kubiak, a professor of practice in the School of Politics and Global Studies and co-director of the master’s program, was especially helpful to Maclean.

“Jeff, who is also currently my thesis advisor, has grown into an important mentor of mine over the last 18 months, and I do not doubt that Jeff and I will remain in contact well after the program,” he said.

“You can tell very quickly in interacting with Jeff (that) he takes a vested interest in seeing students succeed.”

Kubiak expressed a mutual admiration for Maclean, noting how the program is helping prepare him to transition back to civilian life.

“Sometimes those transitioning out of active duty service to civilian life don't really know how to turn their military experience into a rewarding career outside of the military,” Kubiak said.

“Luke is one of those who will have no problem with that, and I think the MA in global security has helped. … I think his studies have unleashed his creativity and critical thinking that will undoubtedly make him a powerful teammate no matter where he lands.”

After graduation, Maclean will still be on active duty; however, he is currently serving a military fellowship with a consulting firm working around national security and defense offerings. He is optimistic about the leadership opportunities his degree and current position will afford him following his military service.

“As an Army officer, there are more inherent ways the program develops you as a strategic thinker and military professional,” he said. “But beyond this, I think the interdisciplinary curriculum develops competencies in a broad range of potential public and private professional sectors.”

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