Following in the footsteps of the inaugural class, the 20 students of Cohort #2 of the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy Fellowship Program, were awarded their Master's Degree in Lifelong Learning and Adult Education from The Pennsylvania State University during ceremonies held August 22, in the Academy's Cooper Lecture Center.

Command Sgt. Maj. Jimmy J. Sellers, commandant of USASMA, lauded the student's achievements and thanked all who supported the program.

"Congratulations to USASMA Fellowship, Cohort #2. You made it through an intense year of study and are now ready to come back to the fold," Sellers said. Nelson Mandela once said, 'Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.' Your education, your weapon, will help us change the world of not only how future sergeants major will be educated, but all enlisted leaders in our Army."

Sellers told the graduates they were no longer the student.

"You're the teacher, the mentor, the shaper of minds and thought," he said. "Use what you have learned to make a difference."

Completing his comments, Sellers introduced the guest speaker for the event, Dr. Gregory Kelly, Associate Dean for Research, Outreach and Technology, Professor of Science Education for Penn State's College of Education.

Kelly began his remarks by noting he given the responsibilities of a sergeant major he wondered how Penn State's Adult Education could contribute to the mission. Through discussions, however, he found the common purpose.

"We both help people learn," Kelly said. "Most of what we do in life is teaching and learning."

Kelly continued noting that the best and greatest minds of the Army, Penn State and other institutions will not be around forever.

"We need to learn, learn effectively and understand how to communicate knowledge to others," he said. Institutional knowledge is sustained through education. …These students have earned their master's in Adult Education. Through their work they have expanded their knowledge and capacity to teach."

The members of Cohort 2 of the U.S. Army Fellowship Program are: Sgts. Maj. Brenda L. Acosta, Eric J. Alfieri, Grabiel S. Arnold, Robert A. Balatico, Paul C. Blanchard Jr., Johnnie D. Bryant-Johnson, Travis R. Childers, Dennis J. Collins, Matildo Coppi, Charles C. Dees Jr., Scott M. Hansen, Michael P. Irvin, Junella Manglona, Carlos Palma, David M. Puig, Uhuru C. Salmon, Gregory B. Slater, Kanessa R. Trent, Jody D. Volz and Richard A. Wilhelmy.

The U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy Fellowship Program is the first of its kind for enlisted soldiers and demonstrates the Army's overall commitment to improving its education programs and developing agile, adaptive and innovative enlisted leaders. Pennsylvania State University is a Tier 1 university and its online world campus provided our fellows the quality academic experience, and the convenience and flexibility they require. Their online courses are the same academically challenging courses taught on campus. The degree earned as a World Campus student is identical to the one awarded to all of the Penn State graduates on campus.

The USASMA drives Change for Enlisted Soldier development and is responsible for developing, maintaining, teaching, and distributing five levels of Enlisted Professional Military Education -- Introductory, Primary, Intermediate, Senior and Executive. Each level best prepares the soldier to fight and win in a complex world as adaptive and agile leaders and trusted professionals of Force 2025.

USASMA is currently accepting applications for Cohort #4 of the Fellowship. If you have less than 25 years of service as of August 2018 and are an Active Component, National Guard Troop Program Unit, or Active Guard/Reserve command sergeant major or sergeant major who has graduated the Sergeants Major Resident or Nonresident Course, and desire to help change NCOPDS, please go to https://www.milsuite.mil/books/docs/DOC-398950 for more information on applying.

Additional photos of the event can be found on USASMA's Flicker site at https://www.flickr.com/photos/133821783@N02/albums. You can also view the video of this ceremony on YouTube at https://youtu.be/6GgBSHRAXic. For more information on USASMA's Fellowship Program visit the website at http://usasma.armylive.dodlive.mil/.