Diving In With Mike Amenti


Mike Amenti originally enrolled at Saint Francis University in 2007 as a Communications major, but like many first year students, he was very uncertain with what he wanted to do in life at that point. He took a wide variety of business, health and even scuba courses. 

Mike was passionate about SCUBA, and obtained his SCUBA instructor certification, but after 3.5 years of school he still didn’t have the clarity he had hoped for about where his life was headed. Feeling frustrated, Mike wanted to get out into the world and do something impactful. 

“Mike was like many other students that really didn't know what his niche was when he entered SFU. He took a scuba course for fun and got hooked on scuba diving,” says Dr. Sue Shoemaker, SCUBA Instructor. “Mike enjoyed the SCUBA so much that he completed advanced open water training, rescue training, and finally his divemaster rating to become a PADI instructor.”

Mike comes from a family of military members. His grandfather and uncle were in the Navy and his mom served in the National Guard. After careful consideration and encouragement from his family, Mike decided to enlist in active duty in the Navy in 2010.

Dr. Shoemaker supported Mike’s decision and said, “I was amazed at Mike's ability to build his SCUBA career while in full-time service to the US Navy. He taught Navy personnel diving and started a business selling scuba equipment.”

A Johnstown native, Mike was excited to be stationed aboard the fast attack submarine, USS Pittsburgh (SSN-720). His job involved lots of math calculations on the fly as the sub navigated the ocean. In order for survival, the submarine had to be the quietest thing in the water. His crew would search and track all ships, other submarines and even large fish passing by. 

After 6 years in the Navy, Mike had another tough decision to make. His enlistment was coming to an end, and he had to decide to reenlist or get out. At the same time, Mike and his wife found out they were expecting their first son. He wanted to make sure he could be competitive in the workplace and support his growing family, and decided it was time to finish up his undergraduate degree. 

Mike learned about the Adult Degree Completion program at Saint Francis, and he was able to transfer some credits from his US Navy training. With only 18 more credits needed in order to obtain his Bachelor’s degree, he created a self-designed major through ADCS that was called Recreational Diving Administration. 

While taking classes online to complete his degree, Mike transferred to the Navy reserves with the Submarine Force Reserve Component (SFRC). “I was assigned to Undersea Warfare Operations New London 1 (UWO NL1), says Mike. “My unit supports active duty watch floors and assists are making timely tactical decisions in the prosecution of enemy submerged forces, as well as assisting in coordination between U.S. and allied surface ships and submarines. I am my unit’s Command Career Counselor, as CCC I wear many hats to assist my Sailors in the career goals they have. It is kind of a mix between HR and a career coach. As a reservist, we need to commit at least a weekend a month and two weeks a year to do our jobs for the Navy, while at the same time working a civilian career and maintain a family life.”

Close to the end of his Bachelor’s degree, Mike received an email from Dr. Randy Frye, Dean of the Shield’s School of Business at Saint Francis. Dr. Frye recalled Mike’s work from his undergrad and was impressed with his work ethic. Even though it was never on Mike’s radar to get an MBA degree, he made the quick decision to start the online MBA program in September 2017. Mike will graduate in May 2019 and is planning to come to campus to participate in Commencement and reunite with professors and friends.

“An MBA degree is a perfect match for his career,” says Dr. Shoemaker. “I am proud of Mike for all that he has accomplished utilizing his scuba skills, his knowledge of business, and his computer skills. He is an exceptional example of how students can take what they've learned at SFU and build a successful career.”