David PerezBachelor of Arts in Social Science, Education specialization
Air Force Technical Sergeant and Professional Mixed Martial Artist
“I could not ask for anything more [in a University].”
David Perez is a 30-year-old Technical Sergeant in the United States Air Force who currently lives in Ford Meade, MD with his wife Maricela and their three children. Serving in the military for eleven years has taught David many things about himself, particularly that “the most effective way to motivate, lead, and encourage others is to lead by example and practice what I preach.” David, who urges others to “make the time to accomplish whatever you want out of life,” does so himself by also training 20-30 hours per week as a professional mixed martial artist who fights competitively several times per year.
In 2006, David started working as a Professional Military Instructor, a role he calls difficult yet extremely rewarding, and one that allowed him to learn early on that teaching was a strong point for him. “I am very passionate about living my life to the fullest and encouraging others to do the same,” says David. “I try to mentor everyone to be the best versions of themselves and use the classroom as an outlet to start that process.”
To work toward his own educational goals, David had been taking classes at local colleges in the places he was stationed, including in New Mexico and Alaska. To transfer the credits he’d earned and complete his degree, he sought out a university that would cater to his lifestyle and enable him to “pursue my other life goals, raise a family, and work two demanding full-time jobs.” Ashford was the obvious answer. “They have a great partnership with the Air Force and offer more than most universities. I could not ask for anything more.”
However, David’s journey has not been without challenges. “Online courses offer such a wonderful opportunity, but also present variables a regular class setting would not have. In addition, being in the military presents some challenges, as I am sometimes forced to halt my education when my country’s national defense priorities come into play.” Despite all of this, Perez is on the Dean’s List, has an impressive GPA of a 3.70, and intends to graduate with honors. “I have received great support from all aspects of financial, academic, and registrar assistance as well as in the classrooms from my classmates and professors. Everyone has contributed to my success so far at Ashford University.”
David is set to earn his Bachelor of Arts in Social Science, Education specialization, in fall 2012, and plans to begin his teaching certification at that point. Once that is completed, he will start a Master’s degree program with Ashford. “I intend to teach at low income school areas at the secondary high school levels. I want to help troubled teens help themselves, like I did. I want to give back.” Reflecting on the time he has spent thus far at Ashford, David says, “I highly encourage anyone and everyone not already enrolled in college to pursue a degree with Ashford. I feel that my life has changed dramatically. Every time I successfully complete a class, I become that much closer to reaching my ultimate goal of teaching.” Most importantly, David encourages everyone to get every bit possible out of life. “Get it all,” he said, “because we only live once.”