It has become a difficult reality: Base realignments and defense cuts leading to a reduction in force and leaving many highly-talented service members departing the military sooner than they had planned. That is exactly what happened to Athena Williams.

After serving 12 years in the U.S. Navy, attaining the rank of Petty Officer First Class, and earning every possible qualification, the former Navy meteorologist found herself facing an uncertain future. “I was a bit devastated at first,” says Athena. “I feared that after spending the last 12 years in the Navy that I would be clueless in the civilian sector. It had also been ten years since I had taken any kind of formal schooling, and I was afraid that I would not do very well. That was before I came to ECPI University!”

Online Student on Course toward Bright Future

Athena began attending class at the ECPI University Virginia Beach campus, but was soon offered a position as a meteorologist in Bermuda. It meant temporarily leaving her husband and two children for more than a year, but family finances forced her hand and she took the job. “It was hard enough leaving my family, but I did not want to give up on my education while I was gone,” she says. “ECPI University was right there to make sure the transition was seamless. I was able to switch to the Online campus without sacrificing the quality of my education in any way, shape or form.”

Athena is currently working toward her Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice with a concentration in Homeland Security. “I have reclaimed the confidence that I once had while serving in the Navy,” says Athena. “I’ve been able to relate so much of what I did in the military to my classroom experience. As a meteorologist, I worked hand-in-hand with military base emergency managers to plan for severe storms. My instructors have really helped me to integrate so much of my experience into my education.

“ECPI University has bolstered my confidence in my ability to succeed outside of the military. When I got here, I was a pretty good writer. ECPI University has made me better. In areas where I was less skilled, my instructors were by my side every step of the way. A little under two years ago, I was scared to death of what my future might hold. Now, I am truly excited! I have made the Dean’s List and have been accepted into the Golden Key Honour Society. I am 32 years-old and I now know that I have a multitude of opportunities in store for me as long as I work hard for them.”


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