The military is what got me to where I am.
I was a high school drop-out. I never considered college as an option because it just was not something that people in my family did.
I had always been interested in the military and with no high school diploma the Army was the only branch that was interested in me, so I signed up.
Almost immediately I was told that I would have to get my GED to stay in the Army.
Next I was told that I could get promotion points by taking college courses, so I started taking random courses from University of Maryland
which offers classes on most Army bases.
In 1996, while in Bosnia
, I got a letter from UofM stating that I had earned an Associate in Arts in General Subjects.
It wasn’t much, but it made me realize that I was capable of more than I had considered.
I set a goal of obtaining a baccalaureate degree, but had no idea what to major in.
About that time I was taking an undergraduate Constitutional Law class and my professor convinced I too could go to law school.
I left the regular Army in 2002 and joined the National Guard.
I started law school at University of Houston
in the summer of 2002.
I was deployed to Afghanistan
for one year in the middle of law school, but I came back and graduated in May 2007.
It was through the career services office at law school that I found my current job as Asylum Officer and I cannot imagine doing anything else. After one more deployment to Iraq
in 2008-2009, I retired from the National Guard with 24 years in service.
Despite all my deployments I believe that the Army has given me way more than I ever gave to it.