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Brandman University: one-stop education station

JBLM's Brandman campus paves the way for success

Melissa Gibson’s pursuit of higher education at Brandman University was the catalyst for her new position as a Traffic Management Specialist at the Defense Contract Management Agency. Photo credit: Melissa Gibson

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Education is undoubtedly important for military personnel; it can mean the difference between a successful military-to-civilian career transfer and a difficult one. Attending college while working a hectic work schedule can also be challenging. Luckily, JBLM's Brandman University campus is available to help servicemembers tackle the responsibility successfully.

Enter Sales & Logistics Coordinator at Alaska Logistics, LLC, Melissa Gibson, a military veteran who served a decade in the Air Force. After leaving the military in 2014, Gibson began to scout potential colleges.

"Brandman's course schedule and location is what first drew me in. The idea of going back to a familiar place was comforting to me," Gibson said. "The faculty at Brandman is especially helpful for those who are or have been in the military. Since Brandman is located on JBLM and the faculty are either former military and/or military spouses, they can help you navigate the GI Bill as well as instruct you on what prior service courses count toward your degree."

This helpful approach was instrumental in Gibson's initial success -- so much that she is now pursuing a Master's degree in Organizational Leadership at Brandman. Although the journey has not always been easy, she has remained steadfast in her dedication.

"I was able to work full-time, be a mother and keep my grades up," she said. "Going back to school is not easy, but as long as you work hard, you will have a great team around you to support you and help you succeed.  

Located in the education center on McChord Field and in the Stone Education Center on Lewis-Main, Brandman offers two campus options. This is just one example of how the university shows its dedication to military learning.

It also offers a host of other conveniences.

"We offer fully online and hybrid classes," explained Brandman campus director Lorine Hill. "The hybrid classes require a student to attend one night a week (per class) for eight weeks, for three hours each night, and the remainder of the time is online. The hybrid program embraces that student who prefers the classroom learning environment but leads a busy life and does not want to spend multiple nights and hours attending classes.

"We believe it is the small touches that set us apart, too," Hill added. "At McChord and Lewis-Main, we have student computers, a student-to-student textbook sharing library, candy at the front counter, free online tutoring for math and writing, and a free student Keurig coffee bar."

Brandman also takes military service into account for college credits.

"For the Air Force, we will apply their CCAF AA degree toward a Bachelor's in Organizational Leadership and other AU-ABC approved programs. Also, enlisted and retired military who are an E-7 and above, CW2 and officers may be eligible to receive credit for up to five required courses in our Master's in Organizational Leadership program."

With dean approval, this could reduce the 12 classes required for the degree down to seven, Hill said.

"It is our most popular program," she added, "because we are honoring the leadership training that goes along with the earned rank."  

Choosing the right college can be just as daunting as the decision to go back to school. Brandman University's commitment to easing this stress for servicemembers is evident in its above-and-beyond philosophy and practice, and should be considered when contemplating college choices.

Brandman University, McChord Field Campus, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday-Thursday; 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday, 851 Lincoln Blvd. SW #323, JBLM, 253.584.5448,

Brandman University, Lewis-Main Campus, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday-Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday, 6242 Colorado Ave., Room B-148, JBLM, 253.964.2509,

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