For many alumni of the United States Sports Academy, the flexibility of the academic programs is an important reason for choosing the Academy … the same was true for recent graduate and U. S. Navy Commander David Peterson.

Commander Peterson recently received his doctorate in Sport Management with an emphasis in Health and Fitness, earning his degree in just over two years. He currently serves as the Director of Remedial Physical Training (PT) Programs and the Human Performance Lab at the United States Naval Academy (USNA).

“My time and experience at the United States Sports Academy has truly been rewarding,” said Commander Peterson. “Before enrolling into the Sport Management program at the Academy, I looked into several other doctoral programs. However, because I am still on active duty, the traditional ‘brick and mortar’ programs were not a viable option for me.”

While enrolled in the program, Commander Peterson moved across the country and changed jobs twice which he says was challenging, but one thing that didn’t present a challenge to him during that process was the smooth, seamless structure of the Academy’s academic programs.

“The best part about the program and the academic courses at the United States Sports Academy is the flexibility,” said Commander Peterson. “I was able to enroll into courses when it was convenient for me versus having to wait for a specific start date.”

He added, “I was able to work ahead and complete assignments early instead of having to wait and submit assignments by a certain date and time.  The online format allowed me to complete assignments while I was traveling and complete my doctorate while being on active duty full time.”

Dr. Stephen Butler, the Dean of Academic Affairs, says the U.S. Sports Academy’s programs are a perfect fit for someone like Commander Peterson.

“Commander David Peterson was an outstanding student,” said Butler. “When you look at his career in the United States Navy, you see that he is exactly the type of student that the doctoral program at the Academy was designed for. It is very difficult for a career naval officer to obtain a doctorate degree in a traditional educational setting. Our asynchronous program that allows students to work on their degree at any time and from any place was ideal for a student like him.”

In Commander Peterson’s current position, he is in charge of designing and leading remedial physical training sessions for USNA Midshipmen who are currently outside the Naval Academy’s physical readiness or body fat standards. As director of the Human Performance Lab, he provides a wide variety of physiological testing, assessments and fitness consulting and counseling to midshipmen along with active duty personnel.

Additionally, Commander Peterson is a faculty member in the USNA Physical Education Department, teaching a variety of classroom based and activity classes pertaining to health and fitness. He has only been with the Naval Academy since early July but has been an active duty Naval Aerospace/Operational Physiologist for more than 16 years.

“He approached his studies with the vigor and professionalism you would expect from a high ranking officer,” said Dr. Butler. “I am honored to have served as his dissertation chair. He is the type of graduate that the Academy can be very proud to call our own.”

Commander Peterson needed the doctorate to be eligible to teach at the Naval Academy, as the school has a requirement that all USNA faculty members hold a terminal degree.

“My ultimate goal after retiring from active duty is to teach Exercise Physiology courses at a university,” said Commander Peterson. “Even though my program of study was Sports Management, most of my professors allowed me to research and submit work that was geared more towards my specific area of interest. In fact, I have submitted some of my work on previous assignments for publication. One has already been published and two are pending.”

Commander Peterson currently resides in Annapolis, Md. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science from Truman State University in 1995 and his master’s degree in Exercise Science from University of Louisiana at Monroe in 1997.

The United States Sports Academy, known around the world as America’s Sports University, is an independent, non-profit, accredited, special mission sports university created to serve the nation and the 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.

For more information about the United States Sports Academy, “America’s Sports University,” call 251-626-3303 or visit the Academy’s website