The National University Military Scholarship recognizes National University students who live in San Diego, are active military or military veterans, and who have demonstrated sustained educational success and leadership. The scholarship program is funded by National University and the San Diego Padres, and to date $40,000 in scholarships have been granted. It is part of the more than $10 million Nation University provides annually to military and veteran students through scholarships, tuition discounts and other support services.
Here are three of the ten most recent recipients of the National University Military Scholarship. They were all honored at the July 26 San Diego Padres game at Petco Park:
When Nelly Cisneros decided to join the Navy, the then-Miami resident was looking for a way to fund her education. She got more than she bargained for.
Cisneros reported to the USS Tarawa nine days before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York and the Pentagon. Over the next four years, Cisneros served as a Machinist’s Mate on the amphibious assault ship, including a deployment to the Persian Gulf during the war in Iraq. That was followed by three years as a Master at Arms at Naval Base Point Loma, an assignment that included several months working as a guard at the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp in Cuba.
“I’m proud to have served my country; it gives my citizenship more value,” Cisneros said.
Cisneros, who now lives in San Diego, used her GI Bill® benefits to earn a Bachelor of Science Degree in Public Health from National University in May of 2014, a degree she earned while working as a civilian dispatcher for the Navy. She has since enrolled in the National University Nursing Program, and is on track to earn her Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing next year.
“I knew that National University had a very good nursing program, and this is something I wanted to do,” said Cisneros, 34. “I like taking care of people.”
She is on track to graduate with her nursing degree from National University in early 2016, and she is contemplating a career as an emergency room nurse. Cisneros also isn’t ruling out a return to the Navy via the Navy Nurse Corps.
Added Cisneros: “I feel blessed to be presented with a scholarship like this. I appreciate it profoundly.”
Jeremiah “Thomas” St. Thomas
Jeremiah “Thomas” St. Thomas had earned a Bachelor’s Degree in kinesiology and was working as a personal trainer when he decided, at the age of 34, to join the Navy in 2008. “I had always wanted to serve, and there seemed to be a need for medical personnel, so I guess I kind of ran out of excuses,” said St. Thomas, whose grandfathers served in World War II, whose father served in Korea, whose uncles served in Vietnam, and whose cousin served in Desert Storm.
St. Thomas was trained as a Navy Hospital Corpsman and served first with the 3rd Marine Regiment at Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, before moving to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, where he served in the same capacity. St. Thomas was still at Miramar when he enrolled at National University, and he earned a Master’s Degree in Public Health in March of 2015 by taking classes at night.
“Besides the affordability and the quality and the friendliness of everyone at National University, it offered me the easiest way for me to get the classes I needed while still in the Navy,” he said.
Now working as a patient service manager at Family Health Centers in San Diego, St. Thomas has returned to National University to earn his Master of Business Administration. He plans to remain employed in the medical profession.
“One of the best things about National University is it provides you with the practical experience you need to succeed while also offering a lot of mentorship and networking opportunities,” St. Thomas said.
“I’m grateful to receive this scholarship, and I hope to be able to use this to give back to the community,” St. Thomas said.
Joshua Teague joined the Coast Guard because he wanted to save lives.
Born and raised in La Mesa, California, and a graduate of Helix High School, Teague, now 38, worked for two years as a laborer before enlisting in the Coast Guard. “It seemed like a fun thing to do,” he said. “Engage in search and rescue operations, save people’s lives, be by the water, and go surfing whenever I could. It all appealed to me.”
Trained as an Aviation Maintenance Technician, Teague was part of a four-person air crew responsible for rescuing people who found themselves in immediate danger in remote locations. Most of his rescues happened while stationed at Air Station Kodiak in Alaska. He later became a flight mechanic instructor while stationed in San Diego.
Teague left the Coast Guard in 2011 and enrolled at Grossmont College in El Cajon, where he earned an Associate Degree in Science and Quantitative Reasoning. After landing a job at General Atomics, the father of three wanted to go back to school for his engineering degree. National University was a perfect fit.
“National University is very accommodating to people who work full time,” Teague said. “If you have a quiz or a final coming up and you have to be out of town for work, they’ll put the test online for you to take. The quality of education is also very good, the instructors know what they’re talking about and the class sizes are small.
Teague said he was surprised when notified he had earned a National University Military Scholarship. “I had no idea,” he said. “I’m very grateful, and I’m appreciative for everything National University has done for me and for all veterans.”
To learn more about National University’s programs, scholarship opportunities and other support services for military students, veterans, and their families.
About National University
Founded in 1971, National University is the second-largest private, nonprofit institution of higher education in California. With 30,000 students and more than 200,000 alumni, National University is the flagship institution of the National University System. National University is dedicated to making lifelong learning opportunities accessible, challenging, and relevant to a diverse population of students. Five schools and one college – the College of Letters and Sciences; the School of Business and Management; the School of Education; the School of Engineering and Computing; the School of Health and Human Services; and the School of Professional Studies – offer more than 100 graduate and undergraduate degrees and 23 teacher credentials. Programs are offered at locations throughout California and across the nation, and are also available online. National University is headquartered in La Jolla, California.
GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.