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UVA Helps Military Veterans Transition into Civilian Careers

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The University of Virginia is helping military veterans transition into civilian careers.

The engineering school program allows them to speed up earning a higher level degree. The accelerated master's degree in Systems Engineering is just a one year program. It meets every other weekend, which allows student to continue working full time.

Professor Don Brown taught the first accelerated masters class at the University of Virginia in 1999. The Systems Engineering degree is geared toward working professionals.

“There are a lot of professionals in and around the VA area who frankly don't get an opportunity to pursue higher education because they can't take a break from work,” said Brown.

The program is also a great option for veterans coming home from serving their country. 

“A lot of veterans come back with skills that easily transfer into systems engineering. They come back with a understanding of how to think about problems in ways that give them a leg up,” said Brown.

Many veterans are taking advantage of the opportunity.

Army Veteran Erich Feige said, “This is a fantastic opportunity to find that balance, to continue your studies, to become better professionally.

Feige says it's difficult balancing a full time job, family life and a master's program. But he says it's all worth it.

“I'm hoping to apply what I learn in class here to future clients. We do a lot of federal contracts so hopefully I'll provide them with a better understand of their IT problems and how to overcome those challenges,” said Feige.

Brown says his past students have used the skills they gained in this master's program in a variety of different careers.

“It gives them a basis for doing technical work in a number of fields,” said Brown.

Veterans have gone on to careers in the aerospace industry, finance, and transportation, all using their systems engineering background.

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