Student Impact

Salute to Service: Nathan Blaes is the first candidate in the ASU/Army Master’s Degree Fellowship Program

salute to service graduate student military army
By Emily Carman on November 9, 2020

Nathan Blaes was born into a military family, the son of a Navy Seal. 

Growing up, Blaes and his family moved around a lot due to his father’s job; from California to Arizona and even to Israel. Blaes said that moving so much was difficult for him as a child, but he always looked up to his father and admired his decision to serve.

“Growing up with him, I thought, ‘I want to be like him.’ Just like every boy does, they think their dad is awesome,” Blaes said.  

His father’s influence led Blaes to also pursue a career in military service. Though not as a Navy Seal like his dad.   

“I didn’t want to be stuck on a boat,” Blaes said with a laugh. 

As an undergraduate at ASU, Blaes majored in public service and public policy with a focus on emergency management and homeland security. Blaes’ original plan was to graduate from ASU and then join the Officer Candidate School to become a Marine. 

That was before he was introduced to the ASU/Army Master's Degree Fellowship Program during his junior year. 

Now, Blaes is a master’s student studying public administration and continuing to focus on emergency management. When he completes his master’s program, he will become an officer in the U.S. Army. 

ASU/Army Master’s Degree Fellowship Program 

The ASU/Army Master's Degree Fellowship Program offers full tuition and a monthly stipend to incoming master’s students who are interested in serving as an officer in the Army, National Guard, or Army Reserve after graduation. 

This program is unique to ASU and was developed by Graduate College’s Joshua Brooks of the Office of Distinguished Graduate Fellowships in partnership with Dallas Eubanks at the U.S. Army Department of Military Science at ASU. 

“If you want to finish a master’s degree with no debt at all, and get a monthly stipend, maybe $400 a month, and the moment you graduate you get a guaranteed job with executive level pay, this is the program,” Brooks said. “It’s just unheard of. It’s the only program like it in the world. It’s only at ASU.” 

The fellowship, while an amazing educational, career and funding opportunity, is not for everyone. There are GPA, physical fitness and leadership requirements students must meet in order to be accepted. 

Currently, Blaes is the only participant in the fellowship program. He was also the program’s very first candidate. 

“If I could have picked a perfect candidate for this program, it would not have been anybody other than Nathan Blaes,” Eubanks said. “His enthusiasm is infectious. He understands the responsibility and the honor of this position. He has tackled every challenge. He is going to be a great leader of soldiers.” 

After graduating from the program, Nathan hopes to join the Cyber branch of the Army, which focuses on protecting the security of U.S. cyberspace. It is the newest branch of the military and is very exclusive and prestigious. 

“I’m not experienced in cyber. It will be a challenge because I'm going to have to learn all this new stuff, like coding and computer stuff,” Blaes said. “But I like challenges.” 

Blaes believes the technical experience he would gain in Cyber would help him to find a good career after his army service.

Even if he is not accepted into the Cyber branch, Blaes is excited to be an officer in the U.S. Army, no matter what form his service takes. 

Salute to Service

Blaes recently married his wife, Hannah Blaes, this past July. 

When they first met, Hannah was uncertain about Blaes’ military aspirations. 

“Before I met him, I did not understand the military and I specifically never wanted to marry someone in the military,” Hannah said. “But my thoughts have changed on that. I understand now what he wants to do and why he wants to be in the military.”

Hannah said she is so proud of her husband and his decision to serve. 

“My mom always told me this quote, ‘All it takes for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing,’” she said. “Nathan is a good man and I'm proud of the idea that someone, somewhere will be positively affected by him.”

Each year, ASU honors veterans and active service members during November as part of the university’s Salute to Service tradition. 

The Graduate College is proud to honor Blaes as both a graduate student and future service member. We thank him for his service to our school and nation.