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Fair creates 1-stop education services shop

CW3 Jason James, D Co., 1st Bn., 14th Avn. Regt., speaks with Mandi Hull, Central Texas College site director for Fort Rucker, about continuing his bachelor’s degree program during the Education Center Spring Fair March 17. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

CW3 Jason James, D Co., 1st Bn., 14th Avn. Regt., speaks with Mandi Hull, Central Texas College site director for Fort Rucker, about continuing his bachelor’s degree program during the Education Center Spring Fair March 17. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

Published: March 25, 2016

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (March 25, 2016) -- Pursuing a college education for some can be a daunting task, especially when trying to transition out of military life, but one Fort Rucker event provided a one-stop-shop for those looking to pursue higher education.

The Fort Rucker Education Center held its Education Center Spring Fair March 17 on the lawn of Bldg. 4502, where people were able to meet and speak with representatives from on- and off-post institutions, both academic and vocational, about how they can plan for their future, said Randy McNally, Fort Rucker Education Center education service officer.

“What we’re trying to do is to integrate academic and vocational schools, as well as other opportunities here that are not only on post, but within a short distance from the post,” McNally said. “We had a summary of schools that were here from the local area, as well as schools that are here full-time on Fort Rucker, to present their programs to the community.”

The fair had representatives from schools like, Embry-Riddle University and Troy University, as well as those from the Florida Institute of Technology. In addition to schools, representatives from Army Community Service and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs were on hand to answer any questions people might have had about their benefits.

For CW4 Jonathan Hulse, D Company, 1st Battalion, 14th Aviation Regiment, the fair was an invaluable tool to help him get back on the road to complete his master’s degree.

“I already got my bachelor’s degree from Embry-Riddle last year, so I wanted to come up here and inquire about getting my master’s degree with them,” he said. “I think this (fair) is a good way to get people involved (in their education),” adding that it was a great opportunity for him to be able to ask about his VA benefits, which is precisely what McNally said representatives are there for.

“This is a chance for people to ask any questions they might have regarding benefits,” said the education service officer. “We had counselors here that they can ask questions directly to and find out more about their benefits or opportunities that are available to them.”

The fair wasn’t an opportunity just for Soldiers, however, but a chance for family members to come out and ask about continuing education, as well.

For Laura Antley, military spouse, the education fair gave her an opportunity to talk to representatives from different schools on what she needed to do in order to get the education she needed for her bachelor’s degree.

“I’ve always wanted to get a degree in business, and I’ve done some classes in community colleges, but it’s been a long time since I’ve gone back to school,” she said. “It can be intimidating going back to school after such a long time, so it really helps to be able to have someone to talk to in a relaxed setting and just ask whatever needs to be asked.

“I was able to ask about tuition, credit hours, how long the program might take for me, and just anything that I wasn’t sure about when making this decision,” she continued. “I just think it’s a great chance for anyone to have here, and I’m grateful for it.”

Although the education fair was an opportunity for people to get a one-stop-shop experience, McNally said the education center exists to assist people year round.

“We really want to give Soldiers a foundation that they can build on because we want them to achieve their degrees, achieve their goals and not fall short of them because of lack of support,” he said. “At the education center it’s about the whole Soldier and the whole community.”

For more information on the services available at the education center, call 255-2925.

This article was originally published at

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