DOTHAN – Sometimes life leads you in unexpected directions. That is definitely the case for Troy University graduate Jason Swain.
Swain’s degree from TROY has carried him a long way from Southeast Alabama. The 28-year-old Ozark resident is a satellite communications specialist employed in Iraq. The civilian contractor is deployed at Camp Ramadi where he works for DataPath, Inc., a satellite equipment manufacturer and service provider.
“I directly support the Army 1st Brigade 3rd Infantry Division out of Fort Stewart, Georgia,” Swain said. “I am a field service representative for the deployable tactical satellite tracking terminals that make up the Joint Network Node.”
It is a high tech, high paying job in a region wrought with danger. It is not a career path Swain originally envisioned when he studied marketing at the Dothan Campus, but the terror attacks of September 11 caused him to rethink his mission in life.
After graduating from TROY, Swain joined the Air Force. The son of a soldier once stationed at Fort Rucker, Swain found immediate success as a satellite wideband telemetry space systems technician.
Instructors with the electronics principles training program at Keesler AFB in Biloxi, Miss., bestowed distinguished graduate honors upon Swain. He also earned top graduate accolades from his satellite communications class at Fort Gordon, Ga. Swain said his degree from TROY has been instrumental to his success.
“The ability to promote myself and my abilities has allowed me to advance in both the military, as well as with DataPath,” Swain said. “The ability to be a leader among peers and communicate with customers has been invaluable to my success.”
While in uniform, Swain worked closely with the space based inferred systems technicians at Buckley AFB in Aurora, Colo., in a classified capacity. His service also included deployment to Kirkuk, Iraq, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005. There he worked on tactical satellite communications equipment, in addition to setting up morale welfare and recreational satellite systems for the Army and Air Force.
Swain has fond memories of this time spent at Troy University. Convenience was a major factor in his decision to attend the Dothan Campus. So was the individual attention instructors devote to their students.
“I chose the Dothan Campus because of its smaller class size,” Swain said. “It was important to me to have more direct face time with the instructors. It facilitates a better learning environment and a more intense classroom pace. The instructors can focus on the learning ability of the class and adjust their lessons to accommodate the students.”
While six years have passed since Swain attended classes, the lessons he learned from Dr.Matthew Elbeck, Troy University professor of marketing, have left a major impression.
“His style of teaching and level of expectations are exactly what a college senior needs,” Swain recalled. “I will never forget how he explained his grading scale. He said, ‘If you learn everything that is asked of you, you will get a C. You will get a B if you have learned and can apply the material and an A if you truly understand and have mastered the material.’ Whenever I find myself in a learning environment, I always revert back to that grading scale to steer me on the right path for its completion.”
Swain still has a passion for marketing and may enter the field someday. He plans to further his education with an MBA or a second bachelor’s degree in communications electronics technology.
He also looks forward to the day he is able to reunite with his wife Shannon and his three-year-old son, Ethan Tylor.“I miss him everyday,” Swain said, “but I do this so hopefully he won’t have to.”