Jacob Boland is a self-proclaimed army brat. Boland’s father served 20 years before retiring at Augusta in 2003, so Boland followed in his footsteps, spending four years in the military.
He was a doctor and spent time in Europe and Asia. Mostly, it was at Fort Benning in Georgia, Fort Rucker in Alabama and Fort Knox in Tennessee. From being an X-ray technician to helping give vaccines to soldiers and completing sewing work, Poland got a good taste of medical life.
“Being an Army medic, they just put you in whatever situation they want you in,” Poland said. “Sometimes I would do x-rays. I also did a lot of processing during the varicella injection procedure; I was the one who filled the vial or filled the needles. Then I did some sewing and even some mental health stuff.”
While he was not formally trained for this type of job, the military gave him the lessons he needed to perform his duties.
Boland has always been interested in the field of communications, and at the age of 26, after his days of service to the country, he used GI Bill to pay for his education at Augusta University. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Pamplin College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.
“I knew I wanted to do something in journalism and always loved doing research, and I loved editing,” Poland said.
Every now and then you can still find Boland on the Summerville Campus. In the fall, it was part of the Pamplin Future Fest. He will also turn to Dr. David Paula, Dr. Melanie O’Meara and Dr. Debbie Van Toll for advice. They were all the difference-makers for Poland during his time at Augusta University.
Through the Department of Communications, he took an internship at Jesse Norman School of Art, which sparked his interest in teaching.
They were looking for people who wanted to shoot movies and shoot. I’m like, OK, I have years at AUC doing both, so it was very convenient.”
The training led to his current full-time job at the school as a photo and digital arts teacher. Despite having no experience teaching young adults over 18 who had just joined the military, Boland started the process quickly and found the job satisfactory. He said seeing students progress from year to year sometimes astounds him.
“It’s really cool when you see a 10-year-old learning how to use Photoshop and InDesign and these programs I didn’t even learn when I was going to college,” Poland said.
It has been found that most of the students in the school are self-motivated. Despite the previous challenges of virtual learning, it has been embraced by many. Boland said they have been given more responsibilities and bigger projects to take on.
“When they come back, and they learned something from the previous year and they took the whole summer vacation, they’re like, ‘Hey, I downloaded this program that we were learning from and that’s what I did with it. “They came back running circles around me.”