Sustainability leadership degree complements Air Force veteran's career path
Arizona State University student Carmia B. Frazier discovered an interest in the United States Air Force at the young age of 7. She recalls spotting three men wearing fatigues while having lunch on a church trip to North Carolina. Glancing through a crowd of otherwise average diners, these three soldiers stood out to her.
“Seeing someone in uniform for the first time captivated me,” said Frazier, who is currently pursuing an online Master of Sustainability Leadership from the College of Global Futures. “My mom encouraged me to ask them what their jobs were. When I asked, they told me they were in the Air Force.”
After their short conversation, they suggested that Frazier think about joining the Air Force once she's grown up.
In high school, her path once again crossed with the Air Force. Her Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test scores impressed Staff Sergeant Brian Miller, an Air Force recruiter, who encouraged her to enlist. Frazier and her family initially thought she would follow a more traditional path and pursue a degree right after finishing high school, but Frazier was confident in her decision to join the military.
“My parents had hopes of me going to college, and I believed I would as well, but the thought of doing so never lit a fire inside quite like meeting those Airmen in the restaurant did, or the thought of working with Staff Sergeant Miller did.”
Looking back, Frazier was able to pinpoint what drew her to enlist.
“I didn’t have an explanation of my ‘why’ until I matured in my career, but now I can say with conviction that I have a heart of service and I was born to serve,” she said. “I have a passion for helping others, and am dedicated to making a positive difference in the world and the lives of others.”
She credits the leaders she worked with and peers she collaborated with, as well as the lessons learned in the Air Force for helping her develop skills that would last a lifetime — resilience, adaptability and a strong work ethic. Between her initial enlistment and retirement from service, she rose through the ranks and achieved the title of chief master sergeant.
“As I rose in rank and moved from one assignment to another, I remained true to my values and authenticity. Whenever I would show up to an assignment and hear, ‘you have some big shoes to fill,’ I would reply, ‘I don’t fill shoes. I bring my own.”
During her time as an active-duty officer, Frazier began working as an equal opportunity professional and later, as her roles evolved, as a diversity, equity and inclusion professional.
Since leaving the military, she has been able to continue her work in this field and decided a Master of Sustainability Leadership, one of 11 graduate degree options offered through the College of Global Futures’ School of Sustainability, was the best degree to not only supplement her existing experience, but to help her become the best version of herself.
“Being an Air Force veteran, I practice leadership by example, advocacy for justice, amplification of the underserved and active engagement in creating change,” she said. “My passion for service fuels my commitment to making a difference in the world, and both DEI and sustainability are essential to creating a more just and sustainable future for all.”
ASU was always her top choice — the university’s commitment to sustainability, opportunities, research initiatives and the Pat Tillman Veterans Center all jumped out at her and helped her feel that ASU was a good fit.
“From my initial communication with ASU staff to inquire about the program, I felt welcome and knew I was making the right choice to become a Sun Devil,” she said. “I am thankful that ASU is part of my journey. The knowledge, support and experience I have gained here is immeasurable.”
Aside from shaping her career trajectory and professional experiences, Frazier said that serving in the U.S. Air Force shaped the way she experienced the world. She traveled extensively and had the opportunity to meet a diverse array of people and experience many different cultures. Through these experiences, she was struck by the resilience, determination and courage that she witnessed in many parts of the world.
“My military experience made me more compassionate and understanding. It gave me a greater appreciation for the freedoms that we enjoy in the United States — freedoms that I was proud to defend.”