Emergency Preparedness

Alumni Stories: A Combination of Love and Lifelong Learning

By John Robert Morton, Student and Affairs Liaison and Amanda Wilson-Echeverria, AVP, Student and Alumni Affairs

Happy Valentine’s Day from the Office of Alumni Affairs! We are sending out lots of love and appreciation to the university community and its exceptional alumni.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, we’re sharing the story of two University graduates who met in junior high school, fell in love, and became experts in their respective fields of study: Dr. Tanya Scherr and Dr. Dan Scherr.

Dan and Tanya Scherr

Dan and Tanya are both educators with a military service background. They are also published authors.

 A first-generation college student, Tanya graduated from American Military University (AMU) with her bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in accounting. Dan also graduated from AMU with a master’s degree in business administration.

The University Experience

For both Tanya and Dan, the road to seeking their degrees was an unusual one. Dan was in the Army, but was involved in a training accident that cut short his military career. Dan then became a trainmaster for CSX Transportation.

However, time away from his family began to take a personal toll. “I wanted to be home with my family every night,” Dan explains.

Dan decided to return to education and put his MBA to good use. He observes, “I began teaching courses and working toward a doctoral degree that combined my many years of experience, my academic credentials, and my general interest in technology and innovation.”

Dan also notes, “I find it gratifying to publish and present research on emergency preparedness and security matters.”

At the same time, Tanya actively pursued her interest in healthcare and access to quality care. Tanya has held several roles within different areas of the healthcare system, including nursing homes, hospital departments (emergency room, psych, med-surg, OB/GYN), private ambulances, fire-rescue services, and air ambulances.

Like Dan, Tanya is involved in education, teaching undergraduate and graduate students about healthcare administration. She says, “I try to teach students to think less about what they want to be and more about what problems they want to face in our society.” 

Currently, Tanya wants to ensure health equity and emergency preparedness in communities. She notes, “I use my education and expertise to help make an impact on equal access to healthcare and to see individual communities across the nation prepared to handle emergency events, whether they are man-made or natural disasters.”

Both have fond memories of their time at AMU, and they quickly learned to balance both their school assignments with their jobs and family responsibilities. Tanya and Dan often spent nights on their laptops, working on schoolwork and sharing frozen pizzas after putting their children to bed. 

“We chose the University because we needed a program that would work with our busy schedules and five children,” Tanya and Dan say.

“AMU made the process and transition easier than we expected. We were hesitant about the fully online model but found that the program designs and workload were easy to follow. At the same time, they were academically rigorous,” Dan adds.

Tanya notes, “AMU had a focus on military families; that’s what drew me in immediately!” She remembers speaking to the admissions team about time management and her ability to complete coursework while expecting her fourth child.

She adds, “I understood that a traditional option would not have worked for us, and that I needed a non-traditional route to achieve my educational goals.”

Related: Going to College for the First Time: What You Need to Know

Advice to Future Students

We asked them, “What advice would you like to offer to other students considering a degree at the University?” Both Tanya and Dan want students to understand there is no perfect pathway to education and that getting an education should merely complement your life.

Dan says that students should “always try to be themselves, and not take themselves too seriously.” Tanya adds, “Find your passion and pursue it relentlessly. Don’t settle.”

They continue to publish their research and explore ways to improve their communities. With another book in the works, Dan and Tanya want to make sure that other students know that education is not always linear and doesn’t always lead to expected outcomes.

“I never thought I would be where I am today!” Dan quips. “I couldn’t have done it without my wife.”

Tanya adds, “I love this life we’ve built together. If someone had told me Dan and I would have five children and we would both have a Ph.D., I’m not sure I would have believed it!”

The Scherrs’ journey toward becoming accomplished professionals in their respective fields is admirable. This loving and talented couple is worthy of celebration this Valentine’s Day.

Related: Writing a Book and Protecting Your Intellectual Property

About the Authors

John Robert Morton is a Student and Alumni Affairs Liaison and has been with the University for 14 years. His bachelor’s degree in European history is from Troy University in Troy, Alabama. He also completed master’s degrees in political science and sports management from American Military University. As a liaison, John Robert enjoys helping students and alumni to achieve their personal and professional goals.

Amanda Wilson-Echeverria is the Associate Vice President of Student and Alumni Affairs and has been with the University for 15 years. Amanda has a B.S. in English and political science from Radford University and an MBA from American Public University. She is currently working on a Doctor of Business Administration from Walden University. In addition, Amanda is a published author and poet, as well as an active mentor, volunteer, and campus leader.

About Our Department

The AMU and APU Alumni Affairs Office is dedicated to sustaining lifelong relationships with university alumni by providing engaging opportunities to stay involved and connected. We work closely with a variety of stakeholders to strengthen the alumni experience and to offer a variety of benefits, services, activities, and events throughout the year.

As a team, the Alumni Affairs team works to build and sustain relationships with alumni along their personal and professional journeys. We actively look for ways to recognize and showcase alumni, telling their stories to motivate and encourage students in the pursuit of their goals.

If you are a member of the alumni community and are looking for ways to remain actively involved, please contact alumni@apus.edu and speak with a member of the team.

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