Success Stories

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Here are a some comments from TSA professionals who have been through our training.

Gerald Goebel

Gerald Goebel

​When the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Office of Training and Development offered the TSA’s Associates Program to qualified TSA employees, I knew immediately this was a program I wanted to be a part of.  Having insecurities about my professional writing abilities and a desire to learn more about Homeland Security, I was confident this program would not only improve my overall knowledge, but also increase my writing capabilities.    

In 2014, TSA partnered with the Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) and instantaneously I felt DMACC was different from the previous college institutions TSA had partnered with.  The staff at DMACC wasted no time reaching out to welcome potential students to the program and answer any questions that one may have had.   It was at this time I was certain I wanted to obtain my degree with DMACC. 

Throughout my journey with DMACC, I was amazed with the amount of information professors possessed and their willingness to share that information with their students.  Professors were available and flexible with students during course activities and promoted a learning environment that was supportive to the student’s needs. Additionally, the DMACC administrative staff was phenomenal and ensured my course selections aligned with my educational goals (Associates Degree). 

In May of 2020, I graduated from DMACC with a Criminal Justice AAS (Associate of Applied Science) degree.  This program afforded me an incredible opportunity to earn a degree which is directly applicable to my profession, at no cost to me, and will make me more effective in my position with TSA.



​What a journey it has been with the TSA Associates Program!  I have really enjoyed the classes that have been offered through this program.  The three CORE classes (Introduction to Homeland Security, Intelligence Analysis and Security Management, and Transportation and Border Security) are very informative and give a great insight into different aspects of Homeland Security beyond what we see at work daily with TSA.  The continuing education classes (Criminal Investigation, Introduction to Cyber Terrorism, Constitutional Law, etc.) do an excellent job of building on the knowledge you have already learned.  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 such a pleasure to work with!  All of the classes supply many different ways to learn from the class material as well as from your classmates, are well put together to balance work/school/life, and as a TSA Associates Program student there is a uniqueness to the classes with all of the students in the class also being employed with TSA.   

I joined the program in the 2014 Fall semester, taking the three CORE as well as several continuing education classes at Columbus State Community College.  I was originally interested in joining the TSA Associates Program because it was a way to continue my education and to gain a better insight into the bigger picture of Homeland Security.  After the three CORE classes were completed I received a Homeland Security Certificate and decided to keep going with the continuing education courses and see where they led me.  In the Fall 2017 semester the local programs were merged together and we transitioned over to Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC).  Around the same time, I accepted a position with TSA as a Master Security Training Instructor and also became the Education Coordinator for my area.  After completing one more continuing education course at DMACC the additional courses were temporarily put on hold.  I decided to continue to pursue my AA in Criminal Justice-Homeland Security on my own instead of waiting because I was enjoying being a part of the program so much!  After transferring credits earned previously, I had seven classes to go.  With a lot of support from my family and co-workers I graduated May 1st, 2019!



This class gave a detailed education on the criminal investigation process from start to finish. The assignments actually served to reinforce the material and put methods into practice. The final project incorporated all those aspects and the class as a whole was a very worthwhile experience. My advice would be to put time and effort into this class because the resources are there, you’ll truly get out of it what you put in. Have fun!



​I cannot begin to tell you how much I truly enjoyed the TSA Associate program.  I was originally interested in the classes because I thought that they would help me with my growth and development as a TSO, and to be honest they looked interesting.  I was right.  These classes were extremely engaging.  The three classes, “Introduction to Homeland Security, Intelligence Analysis and Security Management and Transportation and Border Security” are in depth and take a real-world approach to Homeland Security and the continuing and evolving threat. These classes are well put together and I felt that I was able to connect the knowledge that I gained in these classes to my work environment immediately.  These classes also challenged me to rethink concepts and ideas that I thought I already had a good grasp on and expanded my knowledge on Homeland Security/TSA and the challenges we face every day in pursuit of our mission. 

The classes are three credit each and designed in a format that is easy for the working professional like my self to be able to balance with my personal/work life.  As they are all online as long as your due dates are met you can work on it at any time. My instructors all had backgrounds in what they were teaching so they were able to share their knowledge and offer depth to the already robust curriculum.  I never had a problem connecting with my instructors if I needed direction.  The Black Board online platform was easy to navigate.  Probably one of the best things about the class is that it was solely made out of TSA employees, so were able to all understand each other when it came to discussions.    

The nine college credits it offers was a great companion to the credits that I had already earned from previous learning, and I was able to transfer my old credits to the college and with my new credits found that I was just over halfway to an AAS in Homeland Security which I am currently pursuing.    

Steve Barger, the program chair, and Donna Kehr the program coordinator were easy to work with when I needed help to transfer my credits.

This is a free program to TSA employees and I believe it to be an invaluable asset to not only front-line employees but to all TSA employees in general who are looking to develop their talent within TSA.


I just wanted to express how much I enjoyed your course this semester.  I had hoped you would be the instructor for course 303 as well, but I knew that probably wouldn't happen.  I appreciate all your input to my work.  I have learned so much over the past 16 weeks. – Shari (North Carolina) Fall 2017
The class was great and the Blackboard computer platform was awesome - no problems. Additionally Professor Paul J. Schmick did a fantastic job. He posted his video to the class every week and a wrap up video also. It kept me on track, engaged and contributed to my success. Hopefully the next class utilizes his talents and course.    Thank you for all you do, I appreciate it! Please keep me abreast of the next course.


I’m learning a lot in the class.  Not only learning, but re-learning things I already knew but with a different mindset – which is really eye opening.


I have been learning a lot, the class material is right on point with the desired outcome, and from time to time I found myself at work recognizing some of the behaviors or applying some the knowledge and techniques learned in class.  I am feeling more self-assured as time progresses, and I have you to thank for that.


Initially, I was apprehensive of taking online classes. I was accustomed to the formal route of education and was uncertain as to the quality of education I would experience otherwise. DMACC has resolved any and all concerns. My instructor has been attentive and accommodating, while staying on course with the syllabus, in addition to posing thought provoking questions that encourage my progress throughout the semester. The assistance that I have received from my immediate counselor, Donna Kehr, has been exceptional. I look forward to the apparent tradition of excellence DMACC has demonstrated in future courses.


I am truly enjoying the class. And please know that the Instructor is one of the best professors I ever had. Very happy and pleased with his professionalism and knowledge.