SOLES Alumnus Spotlight: Colonel Brian Kerl '18 (PhD), Leadership Studies

Brian Kerl
begin quoteThe doctoral process was truly a marathon, but worth it.

Tell us about your degree program and why you chose it.

I had originally planned on pursuing a Ph.D. in history, based on my desire to teach history, but a professor at USD convinced me to apply to SOLES to combine the best of two worlds. I chose the degree because I thought I would be able to combine over 28 years of leadership experience in the Marine Corps with the advanced degree to enable me to continue to lead, coach, and mentor others.

What is your fondest memory of being at SOLES and USD?

My fondest memory of SOLES is the conversations I have had with fellow students and my professors, especially my advisor, Dr. Fred Galloway.

What is your favorite place on campus and why?

My favorite place on campus is probably the library. It was one of the few places I could go where I was able to write.

Who was your favorite SOLES professor, or what was your favorite class?

All the professors were very good. I liked them all. But my favorite professor was Fred Galloway. He was my advisor and my dissertation committee chairman. 

How have you remained involved with SOLES since graduation?

I have not remained too involved with USD since graduation, other than my conversations with Fred Galloway.

If you could offer a current SOLES/USD student advice, what would it be?

I would advise any Ph.D. student to begin as early as possible on choosing their dissertation topic and sketching out how they plan to conduct the research.

Tell us a little bit about your journey since graduation.

My journey since graduation has entailed two published articles, and a book contract. I am currently writing the book. I also continue to run the Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (MCJROTC)  program at Oceanside High School.

How has your SOLES education impacted your career and your career goals?

My SOLES education has had a profound impact on my teaching as a high school teacher. I have been able to introduce some of the stories from my dissertation interviews, which were with four-star generals of the U.S. Marine Corps, to supplement my classes. The doctoral process was truly a marathon, but worth it.



Amanda Gonzales
(619) 260-4539


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