San Diego, Calif. – National University and the San Diego Padres honor National University Military Scholarship winners annually during a special pre-game event. This year’s Military Appreciation Day event is slated for the Sunday, July 17 ballgame against the San Francisco Giants at Petco Park. The National University Military Scholarship Program recognizes National University students who live in San Diego, are active-duty military or military veterans, and who have demonstrated sustained educational success and leadership. Here are stories of five of the ten recipients:
Phadra Buckle, a Navy hospital corpsman based at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, decided she would serve her country after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks – after her mother, who worked at the World Trade Center, narrowly escaped the towers’ collapse. “I had always thought about joining the military, but my mind was made up after that,” said Buckle. “It definitely motivated me to serve my country.” She is earning a master’s degree in Public Health with an emphasis on Health Care Administration, and thanks to National University’s flexible class schedules and online program options, she is also able to balance her military career with being a mother and wife. After completing the master’s program in 2017, she plans to leave her enlisted position and become a commissioned Navy officer working as a health care administrator.
Catherine Turner is pursuing a nursing education at National University through the Vets2BSN program, and she praises the program’s mentoring services and workshops that cater to military students: “If I have any questions in any of my classes, I can reach out to my mentor by phone, email, or text and get an answer almost immediately,” she said. Turner was born to a family of Navy hospital corpsmen, and she became one herself. After serving six years, she left the Navy in 2006 to become a full-time, stay-at-home mom – and to pursue her studies through National University’s School of Health and Human Services. With her three boys growing quickly, Turner is contemplating returning to military service as a Navy nurse upon graduation.
Steven Burkett’s 22 years in the Marine Corps has taken him to Mongolia, Japan, France, and nearly every country in the Middle East. Today, the Sergeant Major is enrolled at National University as a Business Administration major with a concentration in Alternative Dispute Resolutions, as he readies for another deployment to Iraq. “There are sacrifices one must make in military life, but there are numerous benefits as well,” said Burkett, 40. “The opportunity to serve has rewarded me personally and professionally.” He has helped train Mongolian armed forces, and in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, he served as the senior enlisted Marine helping to oversee protection at every U.S. Embassy in the Middle East.
During his nearly 15 years with the Marine Corps, Drew Tippin has served in Iraq, Japan, Germany, and throughout the United States as an optics technician whose duties included repairing night vision devices and making sight alignments on tanks, howitzers, and TOW missiles. Shortly after he separated from the Marines in 2012, the staff sergeant enrolled at National University to earn a degree in Information Technology Management, and is now continuing his education earning a master’s degree in Cyber Security and Information Assurance. Today, he works as an engineering technician for PHS/MWA Aviation Services, a global supplier of high-quality aircraft component repairs. His duties range from testing aircraft parts to making customized computers to get the job done. He said he was drawn to National University due to its accommodating class schedules, and the opportunity to expand his technological background. “The faculty is extremely knowledgeable about the rapid changes in technology, and they come from varied backgrounds, so you’re not just dealing with one slice of academia,” he said.
Rhett Henrich, a member of the Naval Special Warfare Command in Coronado, has been deployed to the Middle East, South America, and Asia. The Petty Officer 1st Class is now enrolled at National University’s School of Nursing via Vets2BSN with plans to return on assignment as a registered nurse and an officer. Henrich hopes to work at the Naval Medical Center San Diego once he earns his nursing degree this fall, but he could be assigned to a Navy medical facility anywhere in the world. He said he feels at home with National University. “A large number of students are associated with the military one way or the other,” he said. “They’re either former military, active military, married to a veteran, or have a brother or sister in the military. That really makes you feel at home, and it also brings a greater level of maturity.”
About National University
Founded in 1971, National University is one of the largest private, nonprofit institutions of higher education in California. With more than 180,000 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, Technology and Media; the School of Health and Human Services; and the School of Professional Studies – offer 133 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. www.nu.edu