To Serve, Protect, Study, and Graduate

To Serve, Protect, Study, and Graduate

College students have different obligations that tend to make their schedules a challenge. From clubs to sports to jobs to family, it can be tough to find the time and place to get studies done. For Corporal Joseph Kellahan, that juggling act included being a police officer for the Sumter Police Department.

Kellahan, who graduated with his Associate Degree in Criminal Justice this spring, took advantage of SMC’s online program to get his degree while continuing his work as a full-time police officer.

“We had a representative (from SMC) come speak to my department about the online program, and being able to work at my own pace really attracted me,” he said of his motivation to join the program and advance his education. “Ever since I began working in law enforcement, one of my goals has been to earn my degree.”

Kellahan has worked for the Sumter Police Department for five years and is currently a K-9 officer in the patrol division with his K-9 partner Ava. He said completing his degree was a challenge, but that the online program was a perfect fit. He credited his professors with being understanding of his work commitment and helping him work his way through the program. He was particularly complimentary of Dr. Jennifer Hyder, his biology professor, for her patience and help with her class.

“Joseph invested 100 percent in my online course. He actively participated in all facets and took the initiative to ask questions and engage in discussions,” Dr. Hyder said. “Despite his demanding schedule, he demonstrated an ability to work both independently and collaboratively with energy and enthusiasm. It was a pleasure having Joseph in class.”

Dr. Hyder said she is a big supporter of the online programs at SMC and the tremendous benefit they offer students just like Kellahan to work around their busy schedules to complete their degrees.

Kellehan said the program allowed him the opportunity to continue his education when he wasn’t sure it would be possible. In fact, he plans to continue his online education, pursuing his bachelor’s degree online at SMC in the fall.

“Don’t let thinking you’re too busy with work stop you. You can manage classes and work,” he said of the biggest lesson he learned while attending SMC.

In addition to his professors, Kellahan also credited the support he received from his colleagues and superiors at the police department.

“Police work, especially in the capacity of an officer on the patrol division, is especially demanding. When you add in the rigors of college course work and still maintain a high level of performance in both, it is a testament to Corporal Kellahan’s abilities,” said Captain Robert Singleton, commander of the patrol division at the Sumter Police Department. “We take great pride in all of our officer’s accomplishments both professionally and personally. We are excited to see Corporal Kellahan seek higher education and I believe he will achieve his goal of earning his bachelor’s degree.”

Kellahan is excited to continue his education and advance his law enforcement career in Sumter.

Spartanburg Methodist College offers a full range of online associate and bachelor’s degree programs, with nine different degrees available to students studying at their own pace and on their own timeline.

Learn More about Our Online CJ Degrees


Corporal Joseph Kellahan and K9 Ava

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