Empower Military Service Members to Achieve Their Dreams

Through our Day of Clays event, you can help military service members and their families pursue their education and career goals. Learn more about our current students and graduates who serve and protect our country.

Adam Linn
2020 Graduate

Adam Linn dreamed of attending UA all his life, but after Sept. 11, 2001, he was compelled to join the Marine Corps. After two deployments and completing his commitment with the Marines, he married his high school sweetheart and joined the Army National Guard. Years later, after the couple welcomed their fifth child, Adam finally decided to follow up on those UA dreams.

“I’m the type of person that believes once I put my thoughts to words and there are people around to hear it, it’s written in stone. So I told my wife right there in the car, ‘I’m going to Alabama. I’m going to graduate from Alabama,’ and in 2017, I started my classes.” Through UA Online, Adam was able to earn his bachelor’s degree 100% online even though he was working full time, serving in the National Guard, and balancing his family responsibilities.

“Now, when my kids are thinking about going to college, I can share my personal experience and perspective with them. If I had given up, they might ask other questions, and I’d have to give an excuse. And I don’t like excuses – it’s not the way I live my life, and it’s not the way I want my kids to live theirs,” he explained. “I want them to know that even when adversity knocks at the door, we have to keep pushing through.”



Kevin Quan
2018 Graduate

Kevin Quan earned his undergraduate degree in Engineering from Clemson University and began working as a technical project manager, designing weapons systems and technical functions for the Air Force.

Kevin knew he wanted to pursue a master’s degree to advance both his current job and his future civilian work. But after starting a master’s at a local university, Kevin had trouble balancing in-person classes with his career. He began looking for accredited, flexible programs that he could complete while continuing to work full time. Although Kevin grew up a diehard Clemson fan, the MA in Global Business Management through The University of Alabama was exactly what he was looking for.

“It wasn’t just about football allegiance for me. It was about the program itself and the people who would be teaching me,” Kevin said.

Kevin began his coursework while stationed at Robins Air Force Base in Georgia. For a year and a half while in the program, his days consisted of rigorous technical work and his nights were dedicated to studying.

In the last semester of the program, Kevin was preparing to relocate to Florida, so he was juggling work and classes along with finding a place to live. He said in-person coursework would have been “impossible” during this time.

As an officer in the military, Kevin knew his master’s degree would enhance his ability to lead teams and understand the people he works with. Beyond that, the program gave him the skills he needed to better communicate technical knowledge and jargon to colleagues who aren’t as familiar with the technical side.

“I wanted to be able to leverage my technical experience with my physics and engineering background while also learning how to lead better and understand the global market,” Kevin said.

One benefit of enrolling in a distance program was connecting with fellow service members in several of his classes. Kevin even met his best friend, Bryce, who worked at Robins Air Force base, through their UA online classes. Bryce became Kevin’s “Alabama buddy” and the two of them attended UA sporting events together.

“So many people were in the same position that I was, and I thought ‘if they can do it, I can do it too,’” Kevin said. “It’s amazing that an online program could give me so many real-life friendships.”

Kevin graduated in August 2018, but on occasion he still visits Tuscaloosa, which he said is “one of the best college towns in the country.” His heart may be with his original alma mater, Clemson, but Kevin will cheer on Bama anytime the two teams aren’t playing against each other.

“My obligation to my country through the military was my top priority and without UA, I wouldn’t have been able to both serve my country and pursue further education,” he said.


Franky Knepp
2020 Graduate & Current Student

In 2020, while navigating a pandemic and her responsibilities as a wife and mom (with a new baby on the way), Franky Knepp completed the final coursework for her bachelor’s in Human Environmental Sciences (HES) online and enrolled in the online master’s program in HES. Set to begin her master’s program that fall, Franky found herself battling extreme illness in the final months of her pregnancy. “I got sick, and they kept saying it was a stomach bug, but I just stayed sick for months.”

In October, when she went in for her routine 28-week appointment, her health care provider realized she was very sick and needed critical care. “They saw that my blood levels and everything were too low, so they admitted me.” She stayed in the hospital for two weeks before her son Jakob was born in an emergency C-section.

While she was recovering and still in the hospital, Franky contacted Juanita McMath, a faculty member in the College of Human Environmental Sciences. “I didn’t want to miss another semester. I worried that putting it off again would be putting it off forever. Dr. McMath was so sweet and helpful through the registration process.”

In January 2021, for the second time in her life, Franky began a new college program with a newborn, but this time with a toddler, too! She’s also continued to fight for her physical health, maintaining infusion treatments since having Jakob. And just a few weeks into the semester, her husband’s military orders relocated the family from North Carolina to Colorado.

“The online option has been essential. We’ve had major cross-country moves twice in three years. Being a resident student while balancing military service would be very difficult, but UA Online is perfect for people in our scenario who have to move a lot.”

Beyond the course modality itself, Franky praised the faculty involved with the master’s program. “The professors are so personable and engaged. Anything you need – emailing back and forth, they have made themselves so available. I feel like they’re there for me. It almost feels one on one with these guys; there’s so much guidance.”

In addition to being a military wife, Franky is a veteran herself, having served in the Army prior to her civilian role as an HR specialist. She is currently transitioning her own career with her family’s recent move and has been encouraged by the feedback she’s received from potential employers about having her master’s. “Having my master’s will qualify me for more opportunities. I was talking with a civilian recruiter recently, and he was telling me that if I finish my master’s, the difference in salary is worth it. We’re talking about six figures rather than what I’m currently making, and that’s a big difference.”

To finish in a shorter time frame and to qualify for additional funding through the GI Bill, Franky is taking a full graduate course load. “It’s a lot, and I don’t want to lie and act like we’ve got it all under control!” Franky’s husband is also in a graduate program. “It’s taken a lot of patience to get through the semester, but it’s not impossible! We’re almost done with the semester, and I’m happy with my grades so far. Last week, I found myself rocking and soothing my son while I took a timed test, but I still got an A. So it’s possible!”