Steven Bradley: Securing a Stanford Certificate from Across the Globe

Graduate Certificate, International Security

Steven Bradley is a civilian intelligence specialist with the United States Army and is currently working in Korea. While working full-time for the army and living in Korea, Bradley earned the Stanford Graduate Certificate in International Security. Bradley talks about his work in the army, studying at Stanford from across the globe, the impact of the certificate on his career, and what it was like to juggle work, school, and family.

"Stanford gave me an intensive course of study that helped balance my understanding of the background and current security issues affecting not only Asia, but also Africa, the Balkans, and the Middle East."

  • Intelligence Specialist, Department of the Army, U.S. Army, Korea
  • Graduate Certificate in International Security, Stanford University
  • Graduate, Defense Language Institute
  • MS Administration, Central Michigan University
  • BA Anthropology, University of Kansas
  • Interests include: reading about history and international affairs, mountain biking, and Asian cuisine

What is your current role in the army?

I'm a civilian intelligence specialist for the Army in Korea. In addition to being an actual desk analyst, I'm one of the people who helps keep continuity of databases, projects, and training over the long-term.

Why did you decide to study at Stanford?

I wanted to study with a world-class university. At the time I was on active duty with the Army, and the possibility of attending a school like Stanford seemed impossible. The Stanford Center for Professional Development distance learning was exactly what I was looking for, especially since I was already using the same sort of thinking about network technology in my work.

Did the army support and encourage your educational efforts and studying at Stanford?

Civilian education is an integral part of professional development in the military today. Good leaders are intelligent and well-informed, and so we are encouraged to never stop learning.

What was most valuable part of earning the Stanford International Security Certificate?

The world-class faculty. The Stanford faculty are the leading thinkers and writers in their various disciplines, and many have served in government and other policy making or advisory positions. Pick up any reputable publication or periodical on international peace and security-related affairs, and you'll find Stanford faculty cited in the bibliography or references.

How has the International Security certificate helped you in your job and career-now or in the future?

These days, as mid-career professionals in almost any line of work,we often spend an inordinate amount of time on issues not directly related to our career field-such as software and information systems, and personnel management. The International Security Certificate program brought me right back on track with major peace and security issues affecting policy makers today.

What was your favorite or most memorable part of studying at Stanford?

Effects-based decision making was introduced and debated by guest lecturers in the "Technology and National Security" course when I first started the program. The Army began transitioning to Effects-Based Operations just a few months afterwards. I actually learned about a subject before it became a policy. It's hard to beat that for timely, relevant learning.

What is it like to study at Stanford while in a different country?

From a practical point of view, the technology was flawless and made being on the other side of the world nearly transparent. I actually did two of the required courses while in Korea and have accessed my Stanford accounts from networks in Japan and Thailand as well. From a cultural perspective, Asian society puts tremendous value on education, and Stanford's reputation is truly global. Tell a local acquaintance that you studied with Stanford and they sense you share their respect for learning.

What was it like juggling school and work and family?

Without the structure of going to class, you have to be very careful about planning your work and family schedules so that you don't get behind in the readings or the lectures. It's an exercise in time management. Plus, I think it's actually good for kids to see their parents budgeting time for life-long learning.

When did you access your courses? How did you make time for coursework?

Normally, I watched courses at home, sometimes after everyone else had gone to bed. Weekends were normally devoted to study and coursework. By making reading materials available on Stanford's CourseWork pages, in readers, and through online services, it was possible to have reading materials in-hand almost any time.

What words of wisdom would you give to someone who is considering studying at a distance?

Pick a reputable program like those at the Stanford Center for Professional Development and don't wait. A lot of people talk about "next year" or "when I get a little more settled." It's just a question of priorities. Make time for your education now.