Ohio Student is First TSA Employee to Earn DMACC Degree

Posted 4/24/2019

Of the more than 2,500 students who will walk across the Wells Fargo Arena stage to receive their (DMACC) diploma on May 1, no one has traveled as far as Danielle Nicol to accept a diploma.

Nicol lives in Columbus, Ohio. She will fly to Des Moines to walk across the commencement stage, receive her diploma and shake hands with DMACC Board Chair Joe Pugel and the DMACC Administrators.  She is one of more than 22,000 Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees who have an opportunity to take online credit classes at DMACC. On May 1, she will be the first TSA employee to earn a Criminal Justice degree through the DMACC TSA Associates program.

In 2017, TSA expanded its partnership with DMACC to provide for credit Homeland Security courses to TSA employees in 36 states and the District of Columbia ​that encompasses approximately 292 airports across the northern half of the United States. 

“The program offers employees, like Danielle, the opportunity to work toward a Certificate of Achievement in Homeland Security and/or an Associate’s Degree in Homeland Security or a related field,” said DMACC Criminal Justice Professor and Homeland Security Certificate Program Chair Steve Barger.

The DMACC Homeland Security Certificate Program, as delivered as part of the TSA Associates Program, offers three core courses focusing on the best practices and latest techniques to deter terrorists including:

  • ​Introduction to Homeland Security
  • Intelligence Analysis and Security Management
  • Transportation & Border Security

The Certificate Program is open to all full- and part-time TSA employees who have been employed at least six months. TSA pays for the tuition and textbooks of employees eligible to participate. Once the TSA employee successfully completes the nine-credit certificate, he or she may have the opportunity to participate in other Homeland Security-centered courses or to pursue a two-year DMACC Criminal Justice degree with a concentration in Homeland Security or related field.

“I’ve really enjoyed the classes offered through this program,” said Danielle. “The three core classes are very informative and give great insight into different aspects of Homeland Security beyond what we see at work daily with TSA.”

In the fall semester of 2017, Danielle accepted a position with TSA as a Master Security Training Instructor and became the Education Coordinator for the Columbus, Ohio area. She then decided with courses that were available through the TSA Associates Program, along with previous college credits and taking the remaining classes with DMACC on her own, she earned her Associates in Arts (AA) degree in Criminal Justice – Homeland Security concentration.

“The professors, as well as the program personnel at Des Moines Area Community College, are knowledgeable, will do all they can to help you along the way, and are a pleasure to work with,” said Danielle.  “All of the classes supply many different ways to learn and are well put together to balance work, school and life.”  

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