Teachers College doctoral student Jamie Hickman doesn’t do things by half measures.

In Summer 2001, for example, three weeks after graduating from high school in Korea, Hickman and her boyfriend (and future husband), Marc, arrived in the United States for their first semester at the University of Memphis. Three weeks later, on September 11th, terrorists struck Washington and New York City.

“We both knew we wanted to join the military at some point,” says Hickman, who was raised on service bases around the world “But 9/11 happened and we decided that was the time to do it.”

Jamie Hickman

DOING HER PART Hickman grew up on military bases and knew she would serve. She signed up after September 11th, 2001. (Photo courtesy of Jamie Hickman)

Hickman later served in Korea and Iraq, having earned citations for Meritorious Service, and today holds the rank of active duty U.S. Army Major with the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division. 

“We should always be persistent in our goals,” she says.

Those might sound like the words of someone who hews to the straight and narrow, but Hickman has applied her philosophy with equal zeal to a particularly large and varied set of goals.

Her interest in education was sparked by teaching college-level management courses for military personnel stationed in Korea. She subsequently took a volunteer teaching position at South Korea’s Pyeongtaek University, became an assistant professor at the United States Military Academy at West Point and decided to enroll in TC’s master’s program in Adult Learning & Leadership.

I consider learning a continuous, lifelong process I love serving my country, and my research from TC will contribute to developing future army leaders who are innovative and think outside the box.

—Jamie Hickman, TC doctoral student and U.S. Army Major, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division

“Teachers College has taught me about myself and shaped who I am today,” she says. “This is largely because of the world-class professors, innovative practices, emphasis on social justice and knowledge-sharing within and beyond the academic community.”

Hickman also calls TC “the first institution that I have ever attended where I have felt a genuine sense of inclusivity,” and credits the College with empowering her to be “a more thoughtful scholar.

“Whether it be through my writing or the discussions that I would have with my classmates, I have always felt encouraged to express my thoughts and beliefs freely.”

Indeed, as part of her work at TC, Hickman has developed a coaching course that uses the concept of transformative learning, advanced by the late Teachers College adult learning theorist Jack Mezirow, to heighten racial awareness and reduce racist behavior. 

And, as if balancing her military career with her doctoral studies weren’t enough, Hickman also runs a non-profit music school serving under-privileged children; and publishes a youth-written quarterly magazine that helps children in military families adjust to frequent relocation.

She’s also the mother of a teenaged daughter. 

“I consider learning a continuous, lifelong process,” Hickman says. “I love serving my country, and my research from TC will contribute to developing future army leaders who are innovative and think outside the box.”

They will have a great role model.