Five Soldiers graduated with an associate’s of science degree during a ceremony, here, Nov. 14.
The servicemembers, with United States Army Medical Department Activity here, received a degree in health science from Kaplan University. Twenty others were recognized as future graduates of the college program that offers online courses. Soldiers serving in the medical field (military occupational specialty 68) can apply their Army training and experience towards the major.
Some medics can obtain the health science diploma after completing four or five classes, said Richard Orona, academic relationship director at Kaplan. He explained that Army medics have been performing very well on the battlefield and in hospitals.
“The training they receive is top notch,” said Orona, who is a retired Army sergeant major. “But yet, when they leave the military they often struggle to find employment.”
Spc. Miracle Kline, a healthcare specialist with MEDDAC, was the honor grad with the highest grade point average in her class and said that receiving her degree was timely.
“It’s perfect timing, because I am transitioning out of the military and I’ll be a civilian soon, so the degree came right on time,” Kline said. “I highly encourage, highly recommend anyone – who is eligible – to sign up for it. It’s definitely a wonderful educational opportunity and it can’t hurt, it can only benefit you.”
Staff Sgt. Alma Estrada-Hernandez, non-commissioned officer in charge for the pharmacy at Mary Walker Clinic, here, is one class away from the degree. She plans on making the Army a career and agrees that education allows Soldiers to distinguish themselves. Her brother, Sgt. Sergio Estrada, who is a medic with MEDDAC, also needs one class to obtain the degree and plans to graduate with her sister in June. He expressed that he is proud of her.
“I’m glad it hasn’t taken her as long as it’s taken me,” said Estrada, who had a break in service. “You do have to set yourself apart … the Army is moving to keeping the best of the best.”
The other graduates that day were: Spc. William Gump, Sgt. Daniel Gonzalez, Sgt. Aislinn Miner and Staff Sgt. Howard Pooler.