FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — Fort Leonard Wood hosted representatives from more than 20 colleges and universities from across the country on Wednesday, when the Truman Education and Personnel Testing Center held an education fair in the Main Exchange.
According to Zanti Andriani, an Education Services specialist here and one of the event organizers, the goal of the fair was to bring awareness to the plethora of programs available through Army Continuing Education Services to the Fort Leonard Wood community, along with providing a one-stop shop of sorts for information on topics, such as tuition assistance, financial aid, scholarships and grants, and admission requirements and degree programs on offer from a variety of schools.
“There are programs, certifications that can help service members progress in their career, both in the military and when they separate or retire,” Andriani said. “We have something for everybody.”
In addition to the schools that set up tables, Andriani said representatives from U.S. Army Recruiting Command, Army ROTC, the USO and the Transition Assistance Program were also on hand to provide information.
The fair was originally planned as an outdoor event at the education center parking lot, but a nearby construction project made it necessary to move the event. Hosting it inside the Main Exchange ended up working out even better, Andriani said, and she made a point to thank the Army and Air Force Exchange Service leaders here, calling them “great partners.”
“They were very nice to help us out at the last minute,” she said. “And we get to give back to each other now. People can come here, shop, eat and learn about education opportunities. I hope we can do more partnerships like this in the future.”
A major strength to hosting an event like this, Andriani said, is the in-person interaction that takes place.
“When service members or their families come here to talk with the school representatives, normally they just get to talk on the phone or exchange emails, but here, they get to meet another person, face-to-face, which I think helps people to get more information about schools and their programs.”
One Fort Leonard Wood Soldier who has benefited from the Army’s education opportunities is 58th Transportation Battalion Command Sgt. Maj. Quincy Rice, who said it is vital for everyone to remain “life-long learners.”
“The Army offers so many education benefits to our Soldiers, and I truly encourage leaders to spread the word,” he said.
Rice, who said he has already received three college degrees and three civilian certifications through the Army, is trying to complete a project management certification before he retires.
“Hopefully, this education will continue to set me apart from my peers in the civilian workforce, as it has since I’ve been in the military,” he said, noting his oldest son also benefits from the Army — he will use the Post-9/11 GI Bill to attend a four-year university. “I am truly thankful for the educational opportunities the U.S. Army has provided for me and my family.”
For more information on education services available here — and upcoming events — call 573.596.0172, or visit the Fort Leonard Wood Army Education and Personnel Testing Center Facebook page.