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Northwest Missouri State University


Student Spotlight

Scott Griffin shakes the hand of Northwest Provost Dr. Jami Hooyman as he crosses the stage during the University's Friday afternoon commencement ceremony. Griffin completed his master's degree while serving a nine-month military deployment. (Photo by Todd Weddle/Northwest Missouri State University)

Scott Griffin shakes the hand of Northwest Provost Dr. Jami Hooyman as he crosses the stage during the University's Friday afternoon commencement ceremony. Griffin completed his master's degree while serving a nine-month military deployment. (Photo by Todd Weddle/Northwest Missouri State University)

Dec. 18, 2017

Griffin worked through military deployment to complete master’s degree

Scott Griffin attended Northwest Missouri State University’s commencement ceremony Friday afternoon to cross the stage and receive his master’s degree in instructional technology – just days after returning home from a nine-month deployment to Qatar with the National Guard.

“It’s kind of crazy to be in these shoes,” he said before the ceremony, chuckling that another graduate had mistaken him for a faculty member. “This is home. The opportunity for me to take that next step and continue my education, I couldn’t pass this up.”

Griffin, 36, began his military career 17 years ago with the U.S. Marine Corps and completed two deployments as an undergraduate student at Northwest. He earned his bachelor’s degree in social science at the University in 2005 and joined the National Guard in 2011. He works at Fort Leavenworth as a training developer.

Initially drawn to Northwest because his parents are alumni, Griffin found a welcoming environment at the University as he pursued his bachelor’s degree. He appreciated the diversity on the campus, too, and the choice was an easy one when he looked to begin work on a master’s degree.

“I always planned on getting my graduate degree and looked around at some different universities,” he said. “I do training management online for the military, and the master’s in instructional technology kind of mirrored some of the traits that I was looking for. The fact that I could come here and finish something was what I really wanted to do.”

Griffin spent more than two years pursuing his master’s degree. But when he was deployed last February to Qatar, he didn’t let his situation deter him from his goal.

“It was tough because I was not in an environment that was very conducive to learning,” he said. “I had to stay up late. Sometimes I didn’t have internet connectivity so I had some hurdles to overcome. But one thing I always preach is to continue to enhance your education, and for me it was important to take that next step and get my master’s.”

Ironically, Griffin specializes in cyber and signal communications and he spent much of his time overseas installing fiber lines, switches and routers. He downloaded school work and completed assignments where he could, knowing his ability to connect to the internet was limited.   

Griffin returned to Kansas City for good during the week of Dec. 4, and while most students were taking final exams last week, he was working daily with his academic advisor, Dr. Nancy Zeliff, to complete his project-based comprehensive exam and research component in time for graduation. He succeeded and presented in a web conference to three faculty in the School of Computer Science and Information Systems.

A married father of four, Griffin’s daughter was born in August while he was deployed. All of them attended Friday’s commencement ceremony to see him cross the stage.  


For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468