For the Hamelin family, education isn’t just encouraged—it is a way of life.
By the time Thomas “TJ” Hamelin was in high school, the idea of higher education influenced him at every corner. His mother was a community college professor. His father had earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology along with by a BSN, MSN, and MBA. Following in his father’s footsteps, TJ says pursuing an MBA was always in his plans.
A 2009 philosophy graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbra, TJ built the foundation to take his education to the next level. “I knew that I wanted to pursue graduate school at some point, but it was really a matter of finding the right school, and ideally a fully online program,” he says.
A Big Influence
In his graduate school search, TJ was steered toward American Sentinel University – where his father, Thomas, was working on earning a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree.
For more than 30 years, Thomas worked in hospital management and administration for Boston Medical Center, the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, St. Vincent Hospital and the University of San Diego (UCSD) Medical Center. As UCSD Medical’s senior director for operations since 2012, Thomas started American Sentinel’s DNP Executive Leadership that same year.
“I sought an advanced degree that would support the type of work I do now,” says Thomas. “I didn’t find another nursing leadership program like the DNP at American Sentinel.”
His positive experience at American Sentinel was infectious. Thomas decided to recommend the school to TJ, who worked as an account service associate with a leading provider of real-time locating systems (RTLS) for hospitals in California. “I wanted TJ to have the opportunity interact with other professionals from all over [the world], and I liked what I saw in American Sentinel’s MBA curriculum,” says Thomas, who earned his MBA at Babson College. “As someone who works full-time and travels often, American Sentinel was a great fit for TJ.”
Achieving Their Career Goals
For TJ, an MBA from American Sentinel meant credibility in a fast-growing area within the medical industry. His degree did just that: gave him leverage amongst other candidates. As he neared graduation, TJ had the opportunity to become an account manager with CenTrak, also an RTLS platform provider to the healthcare marketplace.
“Having the MBA almost completed definitely made me a stronger candidate for the job,” he says. “I really like where my career is headed. I get to work in a newer industry that ultimately helps patients and hospitals.”
For Thomas, the DNP was an opportunity for personal growth. “It certainly helps me be more competitive, but more than anything, it really fit where I am in my career,” he says. “I hoped to build connections and share ideas with colleagues at my same level in health organizations all across the country and that was one of the best parts of the DNP program. I’ve learned as much from my peers as I did from the professors.”
A Shared Experience
In June 2014, Thomas and TJ both walked in the American Sentinel Commencement Ceremony in Denver. For father and son, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. “I don’t think too many people in life get to hear their name called out twice at college graduation!” says TJ. “It was a really cool experience to attend American Sentinel together. I don’t think either of us will ever forget it.”