The NCO Leadership Center of Excellence celebrated the achievements of the fourth iteration of the US Army Sergeants Major Academy Fellowship Program, as the 20 students were awarded their master's degree in Lifelong Learning and Adult Education from the Pennsylvania State University World Campus August 27, during ceremonies held in the Center's Cooper Lecture Center.

Command Sgt. Maj. David Lee, director of USASMA, lauded the student's achievements, and thanked all who supported the program.

"Today we celebrate the awesome, awesome achievement of our Fellows," Lee said. "Their efforts are in keeping with their inspired legacy of outstanding performance and exceptionalism by our Army's finest senior noncommissioned officers."


Completing his comments, Lee introduced the guest speaker for the event, Renata S. Engel, Ph.D., vice provost for Online Education at the Pennsylvania State University.
Engel began her remarks by acknowledging all present and thanked them for their support to the graduates.

"I always talk about the story between the lines," she said. "You have worked many hours, written many papers, read probably more than you thought you could read in that one-year period. You did quite a bit, but when it comes to your professional or academic record, you have one line -- you have a master's in education."

Engel said that one line becomes the all. Sure, it says that you obtained your bachelor's degree, and some of may go on to your Ph.D, but it is a marker. I like to read about the story between the markers. Engel told the story of Eric, one of her former students, his background, his story -- about being an exceptional learner, a dedicated learner, a father, husband and so on. How he affected the other students and the institution itself during his time as a student. She then urged the graduates to tell their story.

"You never know what someone will hear when you tell your story," she said. "[Your story] matters because it influences the way we all think and the way we make decisions. So, tell your story, tell them how you got here."

Engel concluded her remarks congratulating the fellows on their achievement.
"You have amazing lines ahead of you. You have more lines to create in your record, whether it be professional or personal," she said. "You have more stories to create and stories to tell. I wish you all the very best as you educate more of the enlisted men and women in this remarkable institution."

The members of Cohort 4 of the NCOL CoE. Fellowship Program are: Sgts. Maj. Deitra Alam, John Alam, Charles Burrow, Rhonda Byrd, James Campbell, Roland Ellis, Kevin French, Trinket Gack, Sean Horval, Anson Jordan, Cindy Lisbon, Randy McCoin, Scott Schomaker, Riley Seau, Armando Smith, Aaron Stone, Cody Thomas, Tania Toney, James Walters and Teela Washington.

The USASMA Fellowship Program is a merit-based scholarship program where select sergeants major will compete for up to 20 scholarships per year for a master's degree in Adult Education through Penn State University or beginning with Cohort 5, a master's degree in Instructional Design, Development and Evaluation from Syracuse University.

While most programs have the students attending the physical campus, this program is conducted mostly online and the selected applicants will perform their studies at the Sergeants Major Academy. They will have one year to complete the degree as their only duties and will perform two to three years as an instructor in the Sergeants Major Course after their degree completion. The program is designed to save the Army money in moving and other costs. Most other programs the fellow requires two moves to complete the fellowship requirements. The USASMA fellowship requires only one move.

Additional photos of the event can be found on NCOL CoE's Flicker site at https://www.flickr.com/photos/sgmacademy/albums.