Dale Helm, a Bachelor of Individualized Study (BIS) student at George Mason University, worked at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station when he realized that he wanted to go back to school to get his degree in sustainability and business. “I decided to come back to school because I had reached a professional plateau,” Helm said. “In order to move up within the company, or any organization, I had to go back to school to get my degree. If not, then it would take me a long time to move up.”
Before attending George Mason, Helm worked at McMurdo Station and Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station as a logistics contractor. McMurdo Station is a United States Antarctic Program research center that is funded by the National Science Foundation and is the largest community in Antarctica. At this science facility, Helm worked as a logistics contractor providing support for the station as well as the supply chain. From there, he went on to work at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, a scientific research station at the geographic South Pole, the southernmost place on Earth. There, he was also a logistics contractor and became one of the few people in history to winterover (stay in the South Pole throughout the winter). That is when he decided to continue his studies in order to advance in his profession in logistics and supply chain management.
In order to achieve this goal, Helm looked at schools that offered programs in his area of interest. “I looked at other schools; however, few had an interdisciplinary option along with non-traditional students like myself,” Helm said. Being able to integrate his interest of sustainability and business allowed him to transfer the knowledge he gained from working in Antarctica and be able to apply it to his studies. This provided the opportunity to grow his skills personally, professionally, and be able to better relate to other students.
“Being able to meet other non-traditional students and share a variety of experiences with each other has really helped me in this program, because we can support one another and feel a sense of belonging.” Helm said that being a part of the BIS program has become a great networking opportunity due to the ability to meet many people in a variety of areas.
After graduation this December, Helm would like to continue his work and pursue his dream of supporting science, particularly space science, by resupplying the International Space Station, or humanitarian efforts through logistics and supply chain management.