MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. --
My educational journey started after talking to a guidance counselor at the education office at Bergstom AFB, Texas.
The counselor provided excellent information regarding the Community College of the Air Force.
She explained that since I had just completed technical training school for the military personnel career field, all I needed were about 10 classes to obtain my associate degree in the field. She also provided a road map on what courses I needed to complete to reach this goal.
She also told me that several of the classes I needed were provided weekdays during lunchtime. And that is how my educational journey began.
I registered for my first lunchtime class then I started taking evening classes a couple of days each week. However, as I was nearing completion of my CCAF associate degree program, I was notified that I would be transferring to Clark Air Base, Philippines.
Concerned that I would lose what I had accomplished, the counselor informed me that as soon as I arrived at Clark to contact the base education office to provide them with my transcript. Sure enough, the counselor at Clark informed me that, based on my CCAF college transcript, I could obtain a second associate degree by enrolling in Los Angeles Community College. I followed the advice, registered and was accepted at Los Angeles Community College. Maintaining the same momentum as before, which was taking evening classes, I ultimately completed both programs. I obtained an associate degree in Resource Management Technology from CCAF and an associate degree in Business Administration from Los Angeles Community College.
A while later, I was notified that I would be transferring from Clark to Offutt AFB, Nebraska.
After arriving at Offutt, I contacted the base education counselor to inform him that I wanted to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Technical Careers (now known as Information Technology). After submitting my college transcripts, I was accepted at Southern Illinois University as a junior in the School of Technical Careers. I was informed by the counselor that I needed an additional 60 semester hours to obtain a bachelor’s and that SIU had classes on base in the evenings and on weekends. Maintaining the same momentum as in the past, I completed that program as well, obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Technical Careers.
I always wanted to obtain a master’s degree, but living life and some life changes resulted in putting certain goals on hold. In my case that hold was for 30 years.
In 2012, at the age of 59, I decided to pursue my goal in obtaining a master’s degree. In 2016, I obtained a master’s in Information Technology, with a concentration in Project Management, from American Public University, graduating with honors at the age of 63. This was accomplished while working full time, which included a four-hour commuter train round trip, since I live in West Virginia and work in the Washington, D.C., area.
The graduation ceremony was very special to me because my niece, who is a captain in the Army, was walking behind me during the ceremony. As fate would have it, we both graduated at the same time. She said, “Auntie, I am actually walking in your footsteps.”
Pausing for a moment to reflect, my journey started with an excellent educational counselor showing me the road map for my educational journey.
I currently have all my college diplomas framed and hanging in my home office. This is so that my children and grandchildren can see my many accomplishments as it relates to serving and retiring from the military, as well as the importance of education.
Today, I am an IT specialist working for the Department of Labor, Division of Information Technology, Policy and Procedures.
Just think, this educational journey all started with my obtaining a CCAF degree many years ago, thanks to the U.S. Air Force.