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Every semester near graduation, the School of Politics and Global Studies brings together ASU Online students from the Master of Arts in global security program for a reception in Tempe.
This May 11, the first day of Arizona State University’s virtual commencement ceremonies, the school transitioned to holding their annual reception for the graduate program via Zoom.
"This event is just one of many similar efforts we make to provide our students many of the intangible benefits of education that are sometimes missed in online graduate programs,” said Jeff Kubiak, a co-director of the program and professor of practice at ASU.
This year’s cohort includes 19 students, two of which are the first to graduate from the cybersecurity concentration. The Master of Arts in global security, which started in 2017, is projected to reach an alumni base of 100 by the end of 2020.
Daniel Rothenberg, co-director of the program, professor of practice at ASU and co-director of the Center on the Future of War, offered his congratulations to the graduating class.
“They are a diverse and incredible group, studying with us from all over the country and the world, often while working full or part time, raising families and, now, managing the challenges of a global pandemic,” added Rothenberg. “It is an honor and privilege to work with them.”
Thorin Wright, associate professor and interim associate director of graduate studies with the School of Politics and Global Studies, spoke to the integral part the global security program plays in the school’s degree offerings and commended the student’s work on their capstone projects.
Global security students have a wide range of ages, career experiences and backgrounds. Because it is an online degree, some students take classes while continuing to work full time or, in some cases, even getting deployed to active service.
“Having 30-plus years in this business, you think you’ve seen it all,” said recent graduate John Oliveira. “This program has filled a lot of gaps for me in understanding all of the processes that happen at different levels. It’s been an excellent program.”
The support from faculty has been pivotal to the success of students like recent graduate Marvin Leal, who became a new parent in the final year in the program.
“I just want to thank everybody for the help — especially Professor Kinkel and Professor Lassi,” added Leal. “You guys were really helpful and made it to where I could do my work and take over these new parenting duties.”
A key takeaway from the reception was that the faculty are looking to build the program community. The school has set up Facebook and LinkedIn groups specifically for students of the Master of Arts in global security program (or as it is referred to within the program, MAGS).
“A sense of community and a network of colleagues are more difficult to generate in an online program, but we think that through the effort of the MAGS staff, faculty and students and alumni, we've come a long way in creating those important aspects of graduate education for our students," Kubiak said.