Susan Amburgey began her pursuit of higher education after her high school graduation in 1980. Getting married and having children forced her to press pause on her dream of becoming a teacher multiple times. To earn a living, Susan became a paraeducator, coached a speech/drama team and also a technology leadership team, eventually taking both teams to become Kentucky State Champions in their respective competitions.
In 2007, Susan decided to put some much needed attention on herself and picked education back up again. Unfortunately, her father passed away soon after and she was left to become the primary caretaker of her mother who had been recently diagnosed with ALS, making class attendance and study time nearly impossible. After her mother passed away, she spent some time on the road with her boyfriend who was an owner/operator, all the while absorbing knowledge about the transportation. Interestingly enough, Susan had foundational logistics knowledge from the time she spent as a child helping her parents run their family-owned supermarket. As luck would have it, the couple moved to Florida where Susan accepted an office administrator position with Ryder and was quickly promoted to load planner, a position where her customer service, project management and communication skills were on full display.
Susan recalls that she felt she had finally found stability she needed but still held the strong desire to earn her degree to eventually become an educator. She officially became a resident of the state she now called “home” to enjoy in-state tuition because she was determined to complete her degree without creating for herself the burden of student loans. After much research, she decided FSCJ was her best option, based on the online/hybrid course availability that allowed her to be a full-time employee and a full-time student simultaneously, combined with the positive reviews and convenient locations throughout the city.
After earning her Associate in Arts in 2012, Susan was ready to begin her education studies but, thinking forward, worried how she would be able to afford the student teaching component that would most certainly conflict with her work schedule. Fate stepped in and FSCJ announced a new Bachelor of Applied Science in Logistics. Pulling together all of her life experiences and working knowledge, Susan knew it was the perfect solution to her problem. She immediately called the program manager to learn more and became the first official student to be accepted into the program.
As the contract position Susan had at a global logistics company expired, she set out to find a new job while completing her studies. She applied for five positions and was offered every single one. All of the hiring managers were incredibly impressed with Susan’s experience and, more specifically, with the Logistics and Transportation Specialist certification she received at FSCJ. Finding her way to RDL Logistics, where she is also currently employed, Susan began settling into her role and quickly worked her way up in the company.
Susan has since proudly accepted her Bachelor of Applied Science in Logistics degree and has risen to the RDL Logistics Safety Manager, a position that has never before in the history of the company been held by a female. While working full-time, she completed each of the technical certificates and actually earned all eight that were available through the LINCS Grant at FSCJ.
She credits FSCJ’s programming, professors, especially Dr. Johnny Bowman, and advising staff with helping her fulfill her dreams and “bust down doors on a male-dominated industry,” as she best puts it. But she isn’t stopping there.
Susan said, “Over my lifetime, I’ve attended five different colleges and universities. I can easily say that FSCJ’s professors, support staff and student-oriented mentality are second to none.”
Now serving as a member of FSCJ’s Logistics Advisory Council and a guest speaker for many of her former professors’ classes, Susan isn’t quite ready to fully let go of that teaching goal. Ultimately, she wants to earn her master’s degree and come back to FSCJ as an adjunct professor.
“I am so proud to be an FSCJ alumni,” said Susan. “My dream of earning a bachelor’s degree started 36 years ago and because of FSCJ, that dream has become a reality.”