I am retired military from Williamsport, Pa. I wanted to just enlist and serve four years and next thing you know; I was retiring with 20 years. It was the best way for me to integrate to adulthood. I have traveled all over the world and learned a few languages along the way. I have skied the Swiss Alps, seen bullfights in Barcelona, been to the Eiffel Tower in Paris and was in Germany when the Berlin wall went down (not when it went up, ha-ha). I have even run two full marathons when I was in Germany.
I was given the opportunity to continue my education using my VA education benefits and started as a student at Pikes Peak State College (PPSC). I am a first-generation scholar. I took on the challenge of going back to school, since my kids were in high school and I wanted them to see that if dad can do it, so can I. I did the transfer degree to the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS) and switched my major from Business to Communication with an emphasis in Leadership. When I mentioned to my daughter that I switched majors, she laughed. I'm like, what's so funny? She replied, “Well dad, when my friends don't make it in their degree, they go to Communication.” I replied that I only had so much time to finish my degree and it wasn't going to happen with the Business program. Plus, I mentioned that I have an emphasis in leadership, and she chuckled and replied, "Well then." I finished that degree in 2014 and went on to obtain my Master of Arts degree in Communication in 2016. I was able to graduate with my daughter in the same ceremony at UCCS. That was an epic moment for both of us.
I taught at two leadership schools in the military and was a safety trainer for a trucking company after retiring and gave orientations to our new truck drivers. I was given the opportunity to become a Graduate Teacher Assistant (GTA) at UCCS where I teach Public Speaking. I was a peer tutor and presented various workshops for the Excel Communication Center as a student employee. After graduation from UCCS, I was offered to become a Lecturer and have been teaching Communication classes with UCCS and PPCC (since 2020) ever since.
I also taught my kids that you need to try to find something that you love to do, and I found that with UCCS and PPSC. With my focus in my graduate school program as not only Communication, but also veterans transitioning to society. My first presentation in grad school was, "PTSD Awareness" and it just took off from there. Veterans transitioning to society was my capstone project and I have presented that focus at conferences. I found myself doing everything that I could to help our veterans transition and still do what I can to help to this day.
Life is good. We aren't promised tomorrow. Enjoy life and make your journey as successful as you can because success is measured in so many ways. There will be challenges along the way, but that is what builds character. Together we will make this semester a success. Stay safe!