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Boise State Online Brings Home to Navy Sailor Austin Richardson

Graduating from college has always been a goal for Boise native Austin Richardson. He began his college journey at Idaho State University, focusing on Spanish for two years before he enlisted in the Navy. 

After enlisting, he began courses for an associate’s degree in Arabic from the Defense Language Institute. Richardson utilized his language skills during his Navy sea tour. After finishing that tour, he turned to his next goal — a bachelor’s degree. 

Austin Richardson poses with son in front of a house.
Austin Richardson and his son. Photo provided by Austin Richardson.

Boise State Online feels like home

“After my initial sea-duty tour, I had the opportunity to finish my bachelor’s degree, and that is when I found out that Boise State had online programs,” Richardson said. 

Born and raised in Boise, Richardson spent time on campus for various events. The familiarity of Boise State and the convenience of an online program influenced Richardson’s decision to choose Boise State Online. 

“Being from Boise and never having a shortage of Bronco gear in the house, it is amazing to think that this is where I could finish my bachelor’s degree,” said Richardson.

Flexibility of Boise State Online’s Public Relations program

Now stationed in Augusta, Georgia, Richardson needed a fully online and flexible program to access his courses from anywhere. Richardson began his search for bachelor’s degree programs and first considered majoring in political science. After some research, he decided that a public relations degree’s adaptability was the best fit for him and his future. 

The versatility of Boise State Online’s public relations program stood out to Richardson. Being able to use his degree in a wide range of industries, whether in the government sector or a public relations agency, was what he was looking for in a major. 

As an avid planner and with a strong desire to succeed, the online public relations degree allowed him to have different options for his future career and life after the Navy. He also liked that he could balance a full-time job and parenting while working towards his degree. 

“I had to find those extra moments: in the mornings where I can read a chapter here and there, during lunch breaks where I could work on assignments,” said Richardson. “Ultimately, I was able to find that right balance, and it just all came together.”

Austin Richardson's Naval uniform is pictured with his Boise State graduation cap.
Austin Richardson’s Naval uniform is pictured with his Boise State graduation cap. Photo provided by Austin Richardson.

Courses and career go hand-in-hand

Austin Richardson loved how his courses had real-world applications. One course that stood out to Richardson was PRO 333, Community Relations, with Professor Cara Brass. In this course, Richardson created a community initiative proposal for his Navy station.

He noted that Brass was very engaging and allowed students to make the course applicable to their lives outside of the classroom.  Applying concepts in the course to his daily duties allowed him to deepen his understanding. He saw how the material he was learning transferred to his job and how he could benefit his work and station. 

“I applied that knowledge in a way that you cannot do just through reading and lectures,” Richardson explained.

Invest in your future

Through all the hard work and dedication, Austin Richardson graduated from Boise State as a first-generation college student with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations in fall 2020! After Austin completes his time in the Navy, he aspires to continue his education and complete a law degree.

Public relations is a pivotal piece of almost every industry. Boise State’s 100% online public relations program ranks among the highest in the nation. The program allows students the opportunity to meet goals and develop critical professional skills.

Want to learn more about the Public Relations program? Register for an information session NOW

Boise State Online offers over 60 degree and certificate programs. All programs are developed with students of all backgrounds and lifestyles in mind. From application to graduation, students are supported throughout their education journey at Boise State. 

By Alexis Ross, Boise State Extended Studies