In January of 2023, OTC debuted its first ever bachelor's degree. Army Medic Daniel Bowles is part of the inaugural class of students to pursue OTC's new Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy.
Army medic Daniel Bowles has seen his share of disturbing situations that would scare most people and make them queasy. During his first tour of duty in Afghanistan with a Calvary unit, Daniel worked on his wounded comrades battling the Taliban. He also treated Afghan civilians caught in the crossfire.
Given those experiences, you would think nothing in the human body could faze the Army medic. But as an Ozarks Technical Community College student pursuing a bachelor’s degree in respiratory therapy, Daniel met his kryptonite.
“I can do blood and guts all day, but mucus gives me the willies,” Daniel said. “But I like to attack things that make me uncomfortable.”
He has overcome that aversion to bodily fluids, and in May of 2024, Daniel will be one of the first people to graduate from OTC with a bachelor’s degree.
Daniel was part of the inaugural class of students pursuing the Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy when the program debuted in January 2023. The degree pathway started following a multi-year process of permissions and accreditations as OTC and St. Louis Community College became the first two community colleges in the state approved to offer bachelor’s degrees — both in respiratory therapy.
“I like the classes, and I’ve done well,” Daniel said. “My 15 years in the Army have prepared me for the program.”
Daniel brought some college credits, and a career’s worth of medical experience, to OTC. He only had a few general education courses to complete besides his respiratory therapy classes.
“Daniel has proven to be an excellent student while still on active duty in the military,” said Brandon Burk, OTC program director for respiratory therapy. “We thank him for his service to our country and are excited that he will be among the first students ever to earn a bachelor’s degree here at OTC. His military training and leadership will serve him well in his future profession as a respiratory therapist.”
The 33-year-old is still in the Army on a recruiting assignment in Springfield, where his wife is a nurse at a local hospital. Between school, his Army duties and six children, Daniel certainly has his hands full.
“None of this would be possible without my wife,” Daniel said. “She holds everything together.”
Daniel has five years left in the Army before he can retire, then he plans to become a full-time respiratory therapist where he can use his new skills and experience.
“When I think back on COVID, there’s a real need for respiratory therapists,” Daniel said. “What I like about respiratory therapy is that I can work anywhere in the hospital — intensive care, on the general floor or in the ER. Every part of the hospital can use my expertise.”