DAPHNE, Ala. – Longtime U.S. Navy Commander Dr. David Peterson is using his United States Sports Academy doctoral degree to transition from a distinguished military career into a second career in higher education.
Peterson earned his Doctor of Education degree in sports management with an emphasis in health and fitness in 2014. He was named the Academy’s 2015 Alumnus of the Year for his outstanding performance in the armed forces, even while pursuing his doctorate and graduating with honors. He is also a member of the Academy’s non-resident faculty, a group of highly qualified faculty credentialed to teach in the institution’s degree programs.
Peterson currently serves as deputy director of the Physical Education Department at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. After 20 years of military service, Peterson will retire from the Navy in June 2018 to begin a career as an assistant professor of kinesiology at Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio.
“I have a great career right now and I have another great career waiting for me, all due in large part to my doctoral degree from the United States Sports Academy,” Peterson said.
“For that, I am eternally grateful.
“I knew that my military retirement was imminent and I knew I would have to get a doctoral degree to work as a college professor.
“The Academy allowed me to pursue that degree while I was still on active duty. I could have started a degree at a brick and mortar school when I retired, but that would have taken an additional two or three years before I could start my next career.
“Because of the Academy, I will be able to retire on one day this summer, then literally begin my new profession the next day. Being able to pursue my doctoral degree while I was on active duty was crucial.
“I was able to complete my degree over three different duty stations – from Millington, Tenn., to Patuxent River, Md., to the Naval Academy – because of the Academy’s flexible options.
“As a military veteran, I was very pleased with how military friendly the Academy is and how it supports our troops with tuition assistance and G.I. Bill acceptance. Rolling enrollments and flexible scheduling were both conducive to me as a professional. The other thing about the Academy is that it allowed me to tailor my education to my specific area of interest in exercise and physiology.
“My passion has always been exercise and physiology, so I wanted a degree that would allow me to further my studies in that area,” Peterson said.
“The Academy’s program allowed me to do that quite well. I would absolutely recommend the Academy to other students seeking a degree.”
The Naval Academy’s Physical Education Department is one of the broadest of its kind in the nation and is responsible for the physical mission development for each Midshipmen within the brigade. This development is accomplished through structured and rigorous instruction in the areas of swimming, personal defense, recreational sports, and administration of the semi-annual Physical Readiness Test. Midshipmen must meet specified physical education requirements during each of their four years at the Naval Academy in order to graduate.
Peterson has also served as the director of the Human Performance Laboratory at the Naval Academy in which he provides physiological testing and fitness counseling to various Division I varsity and club sport athletes as well as general Midshipmen struggling to meet Naval Academy physical mission requirements.
Peterson currently resides in Annapolis, Md. He earned his bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Truman State University (Mo.) in 1995 and his master’s degree in exercise science from the University of Louisiana at Monroe in 1997.
Peterson was also requested to present at the National Strength and Conditioning Association’s (NSCA) annual Tactical Strength and Conditioning Conference (TSAC) that took place in Orlando, Fla., in 2015 and presented at the NSCA Delaware State Clinic the same year.
Peterson is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with Distinction through the NSCA and has published several manuscripts on physical fitness testing within the military for the NSCA Strength and Conditioning Journal and Military Medicine.
“My Academy degree made me competitive for both my current job in the Navy and for my upcoming job at Cedarville University,” Peterson said.
“My degree also gave me the credibility to be able to present at several state and national conferences. All of the assignments and homework and online discussions significantly approved my writing ability, which allowed for several of my journal articles to be picked up by peer-reviewed journals and the textbook I wrote to be picked up by a national publisher.”
With 20 years of active duty experience, Commander Peterson has provided aeromedical support to a vast number of Navy and Marine Corps aviators and air crewmen. As a Naval Aerospace and Operational Physiologist, he has provided aeromedical training and support on a variety of subjects including hypoxia, spatial disorientation, and fatigue countermeasures.
The Academy is an independent, non-profit, accredited, special mission sports university created to serve the nation and world with programs in instruction, research and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports.
The Academy is based in Daphne, Ala. For more information, call (251) 626-3303 or visit www.ussa.edu.