Gackson Wheeler ’17, second lieutenant, U.S. Air Force, knew what he needed to advance his career as an officer: a master’s degree. And he found that UMass Lowell had the programs that would help him achieve his goals.

With his bachelor’s degree in political science and a commission as a second lieutenant earned by completing the university’s Air Force ROTC program, Wheeler lost no time moving forward with his long-term plan. He obtained from the Air Force an educational delay of his active service requirement so he could continue his education in the Security Studies: Homeland Defense master’s program. He expects to earn that degree in December 2018.

“Choosing to attend UMass Lowell, with the experiences I’ve had and the knowledge I obtained here, was one of the best decisions of my life,” he says. “The master’s degree will not only give me an advantage in my military career, but it will also will open up more career opportunities and allow me to work in defense agencies.”

Wheeler’s specific career path will require expertise in international relations and national security issues.

“Completing my master's degree will give me a running head start,” he says