Find out more about the educational path this alum pursued.
Meet Jeffrey Fewell, MBA ‘11
In his early 20s, Jeffrey Fewell left his Northern Kentucky home for the United States Army. "I wanted to see more and do more, and the Army said, 'Yes, we can help you do that,'" recalls Fewell, now 47.
An early posting as a supervisor at a jail in Fort Richardson, Alaska, set Fewell on a career path in corrections. "It takes a different kind of person to work in the corrections industry. Some people find themselves in it and find they're good at it, then the industry embraces them and they find a career in it," he says.
While at Fort Richardson, Fewell pursued his Associate of General Studies degree with Central Texas College, which has an office on-site. Progressing in his education was key to moving forward in the Army. "If you did not go to college and have straight As, then you were not competitive and you were not going to get promoted," he says.
As a result of getting his degree, Fewell was promoted from sergeant to staff sergeant and then to sergeant first class after being put in charge of military prisoners in South Korea. At Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, his work mainly related to military jails. Receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice online from the American Military University allowed him to reach the rank of master sergeant.
While serving at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Fewell was selected for promotion to sergeant major—the highest enlisted rank—and was put in charge of a 100-soldier company supporting detainee operations for Joint Task Force Guantanamo. Feeling ready to continue in corrections in the civilian world, Fewell retired from the Army in 2007. "I bring the skills I've picked up from 20 years in the military and apply what I've learned. It's been a training ground," he says.
Fewell became a deputy sheriff at a detention center in Kansas' Johnson County before assuming his current post as warden at the Wyandotte County Sheriff's Office jail in Kansas City. "It's a 400-to-450-bed facility, where we house inmates awaiting trials at the federal, state and local levels—minimum to maximum security," he says.
During his time as warden, Fewell earned his MBA at the University of Phoenix Kansas City Campus. "I did my research and the University of Phoenix MBA was widely recognized. People were saying, 'This helped my business' or 'This helped my leadership skills,'" he says.
UOPX’s MBA program was similarly useful for him. "The quantitative reasoning and analysis helped, as we do a lot of that in corrections. Every day I use what I picked up with my MBA: When I am applying simple business practices, leadership, team-building and networking. I gained a better view of the entire business world," says Fewell.
With his MBA experience, he has thrived in his current role, striving to maintain public safety and inmate welfare despite constant budget cuts. This April, Fewell was named Correctional Administrator of the Year by the American Jail Association.
"The next step would be going into operations at a privately owned company," Fewell says. "My long-term goal is to be CEO of a successful business and use my leadership skills to make that organization even better. I like the challenge of business. That's why I got my MBA."
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