Program Type/Area of Study: M.A. Human Services Counseling, Executive Leadership
MOS: Medical Corps
Tell us about yourself:
I’m a disabled veteran from Operation Iraqi Freedom. I served as the Executive Officer of a Medical Company deployed to Iraq in 2004. After a fourteen month deployment, I was transferred to the US Army Reserves. In 2006 I was hired as a U.S. Customs and border Protection Officer, position that I currently executing. I am also a cancer survivor and a laryngectomy patient. In January 2010, at age 33, I was diagnosed with laryngeal cancer, which did not respond to any kind of treatment to include chemotherapy and radiation therapy. My only survival option was to go through a total laryngectomy, which was conducted in November 2010. I am considered a neck breather. It wasn’t until February 2011 that I was finally able to go through surgery one more time in order to get a voice prosthesis insertion that allowed me to talk.
What prompted you to return to school?
What prompted me to go back to school after so many years was God’s calling. After my redemption and conversion to Christianity, God has called me to his ministry and I am following his will. God has a master plan for everything. All I have to do is tune my ears, listen to his voice, and follow his will. God blessed me with a new voice that will be used to spread His Word and to be testimony of His love and mercy.
Why did you choose Liberty?
The honest truth is that I didn’t know about Liberty University until God told me what I needed to study. Once I knew exactly what God wanted me to do, one day I open the internet browser, typed the master’s degree program God deposited in my heart, and Liberty University was my first available choice. Was it pure coincidence? I believe God had it all figure out as part of his master plan.
What military education benefits, such as the GI Bill, did you use?
I am currently using my Post 911 GI Bill benefits in conjunction with the Heroes Fund.
What has your experience been like as a student?
It has been a little bit challenging to adjust as a full time student, especially after being out of the education field. I graduated from a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry in 1999 from the University of Massachusetts Boston Campus, and have been basically working full time since then. Nevertheless, I have been able to maneuver working full time as a federal law enforcement officer, serve as a full time ministry leader at my local church, and be a head of household. I truly believe that when you place God first than anything and everything in life, the rest will fall in place. There is no need to worry about anything when God is guiding you.
Did you have any troubles adjusting to college?
Adjusting to campus culture wasn’t much of a challenge for me after military life because I have an outgoing personality which fits well with campus life. Also, where the military assigns you to work with certain people, college gives you the opportunity to choose with whom you surround yourself.Do you believe your military experience has made you a better student?
What advice do you have for veterans returning to school?
To all my fellow veterans, I am in attention saluting you all! Thank you for your service and sacrifice for this great nation! Life sometimes might seem to be not fair at all. We might encounter obstacles in our pursuit to happiness. As a live testimony, I highly encourage you to seek God and to let Him guide you all through the pathway of success. Just like the seasons of the year, our life is full of seasons. It is up to us to maintain the helm of our ship facing to the true north regardless of how bad the forecast seems to be, and let God help you navigate through it. If you listen to Him and follow his will, you will encounter all the great things God has for you in store! With God everything is possible in life, without Him nothing. Blessings!