Life after the military is not the end, but rather the beginning.
“I was born and raised in Florida, and I currently live in a small town where life is quiet and slow, like I prefer,” says Ashford student Wayne Tooker. But his surroundings haven’t always been so laid-back – he spent five years in the Air Force and two in the Army before being medically discharged due to service-related injuries in 2010.
Upon reentering civilian life, Wayne watched his wife earn her Bachelor’s degree from Ashford and decided to enroll there as well. “One of the most important reasons for choosing Ashford was the flexibility and convenience of going to class online, because driving to an actual campus was not an option for me,” he says. “I also realized the importance of going to a school that supported the military, and Ashford has not disappointed in that area."
Now more than halfway through the Bachelor of Arts in Social and Criminal Justice program, Wayne is planning his next step. “Upon completion of my degree, I hope to acquire a job in which my knowledge, education, and military experience can bring awareness and make a difference.” If his achievements at Ashford so far are indicative of future professional success, Wayne’s outlook is good. Although he admits that the online format requires a high level of discipline and organization in order to stay focused, he has been able to do so with flying colors. He prides himself on maintaining a high GPA, and has been inducted into the Alpha Tier (requiring a GPA of 3.75 - 4.00) of the SALUTE Veterans National Honor Society as well as the Alpha Sigma Lambda honor society, and invited to join the Golden Key International Honour Society.
“I’ve gained knowledge in subjects I never would have learned about had I not pursued my degree,” he says. “Being educated in a variety of topics has paid off both academically and personally. The knowledge and confidence I have gained has changed my life around for the better. Professionally, I realize my full potential and the many options I can choose from in my career path.
“The decision to pursue my degree was not an easy one, but it was the best one I’ve ever made,” continues Wayne. “Ashford has been important in me making a better life for myself, and I wouldn’t change a thing. It has been a wonderful opportunity for me to pursue my goals and for my career. I would tell anyone who has an interest in gaining a higher education and in bettering themselves to take that plunge and go for it.”
In sharing his story, Wayne notes that there is a certain group he hopes it will resonate with the most. “The people I most hope to inspire are the veterans, especially those who are disabled, to not give up on their careers and to continue to overcome obstacles no matter what. Life after the military is not the end,” declares Wayne, “but rather the beginning.”