I Fulfilled a Personal Challenge When I Earned a Degree From UVA

“I fulfilled a personal challenge when I earned a degree from UVA. I wouldn’t have been able to do this 15 years ago when I got out of high school. [The School of Continuing and Professional Studies] gives me an opportunity to continue my degree at a pace that worked for me.”

Driven by a desire to help others, Tyler Dean entered the emergency services field after high school. He earned a two-year degree in emergency medical services from Northern Virginia Community College. After five years with Albemarle County Fire Rescue as a firefighter/paramedic, he moved to a public educator position in the fire marshal’s office and decided to seek a bachelor’s degree.

At 34, Dean graduated in May 2020 from UVA’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies with a Bachelor of Professional Studies in Health Sciences Management. Dean said the program has “helped me vastly improve my ability to communicate effectively with my peers, but also those above me, the senior staff and management in my department, as well as recognizing different leadership traits and abilities and learning how to apply them appropriately in my position.”

Dean said coursework in behavioral theory, leadership, and management has helped him better organize for planning and creating projects. As part of his UVA capstone project, Dean is creating a training program to familiarize emergency responders with signs and symptoms of someone on the autism spectrum. He said recognizing these symptoms is important because, if missed, they can “lead to other problems down the road.”

A father of three, Dean enjoys the part of his job that allows him to work with children, such as the anti-bullying campaign he teaches to elementary school students. As part of the program, he also tells students to become lifelong learners, something he has practiced. 

“I have learned it’s never too late to continue your education,” Dean said. “There is always opportunity out there.”