Mission Accomplished: Drexel Degree a Perfect Fit for Navy Veteran
May 8, 2012
His days are no longer spent flying from aircraft carriers as a Naval Flight Officer or leaping with reckless abandon from helicopters into freezing ocean waters as a rescue swimmer.
And that's a good thing, considering Mike O'Docharty is nearing his 48th birthday and has turned the page on those exciting, daring times as a youthful pup in the Navy.
"It was time to unpack the seabag and watch my daughters grow up," laughs O'Docharty, who finds his challenges different but just as challenging these days.
One of those challenges was recently achieved.
O'Docharty will be handed a Drexel University diploma in June. The former Navy officer now has a Masters in Human Resource Development after spending the past two years soaking up knowledge at Drexel's Center for Graduate Studies in Sacramento.
Attending Drexel was a sweet deal for O'Docharty, who lives in Roseville and took advantage of the university's generous Yellow Ribbon Program. The program provides 100 percent free tuition to eligible military personnel or veterans who have served in the U.S. armed forces for 36 months after September 11, 2001.
O'Docharty can be roundly applauded for his extensive military career, which spanned 22 years in the Navy and included numerous combat missions flying from aircraft carriers around the world. There are no regrets for O'Docharty, who retired from the Navy six years ago as a Lieutenant Commander.
"I was a very satisfied customer in the Navy," O'Docharty said.
He was also very satisfied as a Drexel student. The skills he acquired as a graduate student blend well with his current job and will also provide a springboard for future plans.
The Chief of Workforce Development at the California Department of Toxic Substance Control, O'Docharty says the Drexel degree allowed for "personal development that aligns exactly with what I do at work."
However, the more exciting prospect is those new-found skills and leadership qualities that Drexel helped hone can now be applied to O'Docharty's latest dream - starting an international business that builds learning solutions for companies worldwide.
"I can take the technology skills from Drexel and apply them to an international environment that focuses on electronic learning development," O'Docharty said.
There's one additional advantage that comes with embarking on a new business - location. Due to its online nature, O'Docharty can start and run his business from virtually anywhere.
He may start the business in Roseville, but expects to eventually be operating it in Japan. He and his Japanese wife, Sachiko, are looking to relocate. A former registered nurse, Sachiko wants to return to her homeland and O'Docharty likes the idea as well.
The O'Dochartys will eventually be departing the Sacramento region, but will take many memories with them. For Mike, some of those memories will include the instructors and fellow students he became close friends with at Drexel.
O'Docharty has some parting words for any veteran considering a similar path.
"The Yellow Ribbon Program at Drexel is too good to pass up," he said. "Drexel provides a great educational environment that teaches people to think analytically and also offers a strong ethical compass. It puts a great emphasis on leadership training for business and the community. I recommend it to any veteran. We worked hard for this benefit and you simply must make time to continue your education. Drexel was the place for me."