Warrior Profile: Air Force Officer Applies Lessons in Leadership

The flexibility of Waldorf University’s online courses are a primary draw for most students. Oftentimes, students are pulled from one responsibility to the next and sitting in a physical classroom at specific times during the week just isn’t realistic.

This couldn’t be truer for Waldorf alumni, Jaccob Lloyd. Jaccob is a noncommissioned officer in the U.S. Air Force and works as an identity intelligence analyst for the Department of Defense. He recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership.

Jaccob says that the flexibility of courses allowed him to maintain his 60-hour workweek and demanding military schedule without sacrificing his grades or his time with family.

“Prior to my time at Waldorf, I attended two traditional brick and mortar institutions. Unfortunately, the constant deployments and TDYs (temporary duty assignments) forced me to withdraw from several terms, making it feel all but impossible to graduate while serving [our country]. But the attentiveness of the faculty and staff, in conjunction with the flexibility of the course structure [at Waldorf], inspired my continued pursuit of higher education.”

Jaccob says that in one of his last semesters at Waldorf, he found himself approaching a last-minute deployment to the Middle East. Eager to complete his courses and unsure how that would be handled with a deployment in the middle of the term, he reached out to his academic advisor for guidance.

“I was frustrated that all my effort in the class was going to be for nothing and that I was going to have to withdraw and retake the course when I returned [from deployment],” Jaccob said. “I contacted the university as soon as I caught wind of the deployment and they went above and beyond to help me complete the semester. They scanned the books I needed, gave me additional flexibility with deadlines and were always available to provide guidance and encouragement.”

Because of the dedication he felt towards his education and his commitment to complete the semester, Jaccob was able to finish his course despite the weak connectivity and everything going on while he was in the Middle East.

Jaccob says that his degree in organizational leadership has helped him grow as a leader in ways he didn’t originally expect.

“In just 10 short weeks, I went from heart-racing presentations loaded with verbal pauses to being comfortable presenting last-minute briefings in front of my peers. The confidence gained from my newly developed comfort reflected in my job performance,” he said.

Throughout his time at Waldorf, Jaccob also learned valuable lessons on followership.

“The university’s unique approach on followership in an effort to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of an organization significantly enhanced my career. After completion of the program, I understood the importance of followership and applied its principles to my squadron. This helped me to gain credibility in the eyes of squadron leadership and I became the go-to NCO and was provided many training and deployment opportunities that were not made accessible to other members of the team.”

After Jaccob completed his degree program, he was able to apply for a commissioning. Today, he still relates the lessons he learned through his Waldorf degree to his leadership position in the Air Force and hopes to attain a position as a geographic information systems analyst in the future.

Author: Elizabeth Burgreen

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