Interdisciplinary Degree, Organizational Administration

Tracy Ripkey, YNCM, USCG (ret)

I am a recently retired, 26-year veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard.  My profession while serving the Armed Forces was Administration and Personnel.  Specifically, I was a Master Chief Yeoman, which is a Senior Enlisted member representing the top 1% of the enlisted ranks.

While I served, I had the opportunity to take a few CLEP (College Level Examination Program) exams, attend Community Colleges, and collect years of “hands on” military experience at over 12 duty stations throughout the United States.  These transfer credits quickly accumulated to over 130.  While the military experience is a bit more complicated to put into a standard major, having the opportunity to work on an Interdisciplinary Degree, reflects what my professional career has been all of my adult life.

Different duty stations brought on different job opportunities.  I was the Supervisor of a 9-person Administrative Staff in Detroit, Michigan; an Executive Assistant to the Senior Leader of the Coast Guard in Washington D.C.; an Office Manager for the Legal Staff at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT; a Data Analysis and Workforce Forecasting Specialist in Washington D.C.; and a Policy Expert on Joint Travel Regulations representing the entire service at the Pentagon while working with Department of Defense (DoD) counterparts.  These are just a few highlights during my career, which have led me to pursue an Interdisciplinary Degree in Organizational Administration at Plymouth State University.

After working with Admissions and faculty advisors to best capture what my Yeoman experiences in the not-for-profit military sector mean in academic language, I came to realize that while my military experience is indeed organizational and administrative, it is clearly not in the for-profit business sector, and does not properly entail the depth of focus that would be covered in a PSU business degree.  Realizing that my experience neither falls precisely into a Business Administration or a Management major; an Interdisciplinary Degree plan seemed to be the right fit for me. Not only does an Interdisciplinary Degree in Organizational Administration represent where my experience is, it is a well-rounded degree that features elements from both established majors, but is unlike anything currently offered.  This program more appropriately clarifies my expertise and experience without inappropriately implying a level of business expertise that my training and experience do not demonstrate.

In “What is a Yeoman“, I have included what the Joint Services Transcript describes as the duties of a Yeoman and the different levels of competencies.  In academic terms, this would be close to a syllabus, or criteria to which I have been judged as fully competent, and have performed those duties and responsibilities.  This applies to some of the transfer credits I have received and is relevant towards my major, Organizational Administration.

The remaining classes I plan to take to compliment my major, Organizational Administration, are:

  • Business Statistics,
  • Macroeconomics,
  • Society, Ethics and the Law,
  • Interdisciplinary Studies Senior Seminar.

I chose these courses not only to fulfill the Connections at PSU, they are Organizationally focused, and will bridge the connection between my professional experience in the military and fully prepared me for future opportunities to utilize my education in the civilian world.  Business Statistics BU2240, will bring my experience from when I worked in Data Analysis and Workforce Forecasting, into today’s business world, including services improvement and marketing research.  Macroeconomics EC2550, will prepare me more for the profit based world, and engage me in thinking of the relationship between such factors as short-term fluctuations in national income and long term economic growth.  Society, Ethics and the Law CJ3150 will bring everything together to include today’s workforce issues, focusing on ethics as it bears on social problems and the law.  Together these classes, coupled with my Administration background will have prepared me for graduating with an Interdisciplinary Degree in Organizational Administration from Plymouth State University.

Completing my degree has been a long-term goal that I’ve always looked forward to finishing.  The Montgomery GI Bill / Veterans Benefits, allows me to pursue this dream, and continue to enjoy retirement and volunteer activities in my local community.

3 thoughts on “Interdisciplinary Degree, Organizational Administration”

  1. First, I want to thank you for your dedication and contribution to protecting and serving our country. You have so much high level experience in this field you’ve created already. It’s amazing. This post truly captures you’re future career goals and everything you are incorporating into your major. Being someone from a medical field perspective, it’s something totally new to me, but so inspiring at the same time. It’s also enlightening to see how you’ve incorporated your field experience with your educational experiences.

  2. I agree with all of Mikaela’s wonderful points. You’ve mapped out clear connections between your military experience and specific disciplines at PSU as you come down the homestretch of your academic career, while frankly targeting your own purpose and deliverables in those aspirations. As a veteran, you bring additional knowledge, experience, and perspective to the IDS major you’ve designed, which I can see already is having a positive impact through your volunteer service in your own community; as shown in your Twitter intentions for organizing a local hiking group to which you belong. I can’t wait to see how your applied Project will fit into that niche and how your research will further inform your goals. Using a photo of yourself in uniform effectively invites reader to get to know a little bit more about the author as well. Keep those coming and best wishes!

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