My path to becoming a college graduate was not easy and until ten years ago, it was something that I gave little consideration to. I come from a lineage where none of my relatives graduated from college. It took many years after graduating from high school in 1984 before I realized the importance of a college degree and the self-satisfaction in achieving such a goal. I did not achieve this because I am smart; I achieved this personal goal because I took advantage of the veteran education benefits that were available to me and many others who inspired me.
My path to a college degree may have never been if it had not been for the Post 9/11 GI Bill. This was a terrible event in our nation’s history, but an aftereffect [of my service] was the educational benefits awarded to many active duty military personnel and veterans. I knew this was an opportune time to get my degree and so I went back to school. The Community Psychology degree program at UW Bothell provided me the education that would allow me to continuing working with veterans.
I must give a large part of the credit to those that supported me and inspired me. I thank my family for standing beside me through the whole process and having faith in the degree path that I chose. I chose not the path of a doctor, lawyer, or engineer where I would become wealthy; I chose a path where my passion took me--which is assisting the veteran population that I am a part of. I also appreciate the UW Bothell alumni veterans like Ben Wiselogle (Navy) and Chris McCrae (Army) who always led from the front here at UW Bothell. They have gone on to many greater achievements in their professional and personal lives. They are great role models for other student veterans at UW Bothell. I hope that I, UW Bothell alumni 2012, can inspire other current and future student veterans in achieving academic success in the classroom and in their communities. Finally I hope to inspire my daughter, future grandchildren, nieces, nephews, friends, and coworkers to go get a college education.
Erle Hunter, US Navy (Retired)