Alumni Accomplishments

Train and Teach

Army veteran Alex Maul finds his career calling

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Photo Credit: Robert Hall

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Photo Credit: Robert Hall

icon of a calendarAugust 25, 2020

icon of a pencilBy Patrick Dunn and Patti Georgevich

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After being discharged from the U.S. Army in 2012 when he tore three ligaments during a physical training exercise, Alex Maul knew he wanted to go to college, but wasn’t sure where to go next with his career or what to study. What he did know is he wanted to help people learn.

Maul says he saw a “vast need for training” while serving his four years in the Army as a carpenter at Fort Eustis in Virginia, and wanted to address similar issues in his professional life.

“For me, training is everything,” says Maul. “If you’re not properly trained, you can’t perform your job properly.”

He found his answers at Oakland University.

He enrolled at OU in 2014 to study elementary education. After job-shadowing a middle school teacher, he realized he preferred to work with people his own age, so he consulted OU Academic Adviser Laurie Shano.

“I told her, ‘I want to do something with education. I want to do something with training. What can I do?’” Maul says.

Shano suggested Maul pursue a degree in human resource development (HRD) with a minor in training and development.

“That way, I’d still be able to ‘train and teach,’” Maul says.

The Chesterfield Township resident (at the time) took his HRD classes at the Macomb University Center. He appreciated that he could take his classes in the evening, as he was also ‘serving’ as a full-time dad to two with his wife, Brittany, and working a full-time internship at auto supplier GKN Driveline in Auburn Hills while taking three to four courses each semester.

Asked what he enjoyed most about OU, Maul doesn’t hesitate to answer: “The people.” He developed strong relationships with his fellow students in the HRD cohort, who, he says, “all came to appreciate each other’s talent.” And, he describes his professors as “phenomenal,” and calls Shano “the most influential person in my OU experience.”

Maul’s time at OU also helped him further develop personal attributes that have stayed with him. He describes himself as “passionate, hardworking and dedicated,” and says OU helped him to sharpen his time management skills.

“My HRD classes were really challenging,” he says. “You have to dedicate your time towards studying or you won’t receive a good grade. And, you won’t learn what you need to.”

Maul graduated in 2017 with a 3.78 GPA, and now uses those time management skills on a daily basis in his job maintaining time records and managing travel for a staff of about 50 at the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC) Ground Vehicle Systems Center (GVSC) in Warren.

“In other positions, I felt like it was the same routine each day and what I was doing didn’t matter.”

Sherif Ibrahim is a supervisor at the CCDC GVSC who heads one of the teams Maul supports in his job. He describes Maul as “a great value add to the team.”

“He always offers guidance and support to colleagues and peers and displays a genuine interest in listening and addressing the problems shared by employees,” Ibrahim says. “His dedication and commitment towards the mission of GVSC and U.S. Army is unbelievably amazing.”

The father of now three children, and, with one on the way, Maul plans to move forward in his career and continue making a difference. And, he wants to return to OU to pursue a master’s degree in organizational leadership and a doctorate in instructional design, so he can become an instructional designer for the Army.

“The Army has positions for instructional designers all over the world,” he says. “I want to stay with the organization and eventually create training that saves lives and makes our troops better at their job.”

Learn more about OU’s bachelor’s and master’s degree programs offered at our locations in Clinton Township and Mount Clemens at OU Macomb

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