Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Time in military influences professor’s career path

Monday, May 3, 2021
Graphic by Alisha Reisenbichler

After traveling the world in the Navy and expanding his understanding of interpersonal communication, Dr. Christopher Bradley found his niche in the sociology department at Southeast.

Bradley came to Southeast Missouri State University in July of 2019, becoming the chair of the department of criminal justice, social work and sociology. Bradley had previous experience as a chair of a department when he was associate chair of the division of social sciences at Troy University.

Bradley said when he first started at Southeast, the department of criminal justice was down faculty members, but now there are 15 faculty members in the department. Bradley said they all work well together with minimal problems and drama.

“This is the best faculty I have ever worked with in my career,” Bradley said. “Everybody here really does everything they can to make sure their students are successful. Everyone is heavily invested in their students' success.”

In regards to COVID-19, Bradley said, “Everyone has handled the pivots we’ve needed to make smashingly well. Everybody always gives their best effort. I got lucky I walked into a department with a really great group of people.”

Before becoming a professor and chairman, Bradley joined the Navy at age 18.

“I loved it, traveled the world. I was stationed in Japan, Hawaii, Virginia Beach, lots of different places, but after six years, I realized I didn’t want to make a career out of it,” Bradley said.

In the military, Bradley’s specialization was electronics and electrical systems. After six years in the Navy, Bradley looked to do the complete opposite of this field.

Bradley said he took his honorable discharge and went to Northern Arizona in Flagstaff, Ariz. After bouncing around multiple majors, including education in history, business and then social work, Bradley realized that was not exactly his interest. Then, a professor steered him to sociology.

“I fell in love with the discipline, but realized the only way to really make it work was to take it all the way to get my doctorate,” Bradley said. “So, I applied for graduate school and was accepted at Bowling Green State where I earned my master’s and doctorate in sociology.”

He said traveling the world, seeing different places and the interaction with different people hungered Bradley to understand society and the interconnections between society and the individuals within it.

Bradley said his philosophy in life is, “Do what you love; the money will eventually tumble in.”