2/1/2012 - WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- My education journey took a very long time to achieve. My father never finished high school and my mother finished only two months of nursing classes before she married my father. I was the oldest of six children, and only one of two in my family to receive a college degree. It was never the intention of my parents to not support education; it was a matter of practicality. My family was not financially well off. My parents never discouraged me from going to college but were honest enough to tell me they could not pay the tuition. After high school I took a class or two. However, having to work full time and help with expenses at home discouraged me from ever graduating from college.
After working for two years after high school, I realized I needed something more fulfilling in my life. I joined the Air Force in 1976 at age 20. My desire for education began after completing eight months of both basic and technical training. Once established at my first duty assignment overseas, I started working toward my Community College of the Air Force degree. I had the education bug! I was lucky that our base education office offered courses to accommodate shift workers like me. It took me a little over 15 years to receive my bachelor's degree, mainly taking evening courses while still supporting my family. Proudly, at age 35, I graduated from Ohio Dominican University.
I had a long break from active duty and eventually transferred into the Air Force Reserves. I was approached by our unit's Medical Chief and Medical Commander about considering the option of becoming a Medical Corps Officer (MSC). I took the plunge, received a direct commission and once again started on the road to education. I was picked up after four years working as an MSC to work acquisition requirements for the Air Force Reserve Command. I began working toward my master's degree.
At the age of 49, I graduated from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University with a master's degree in Aeronautical Science in Management. Immediately after graduating, I started working on Air Command and Staff College, successfully completing that in 2005 at the age of 51. I retired from the Air Force Reserve as a major, serving a total of 22 years, 11 of which were enlisted and 11 as an officer. I am still proudly serving in the government as a civil servant.
The bottom line to my story: for those who feel there is an age limit to obtaining a degree, there is not. Perseverance, dedication and the motivation to keep moving forward through education have provided opportunities for both my military and civil service careers. Age was never a limiting factor!