By Capt. Musheerah Kolen, 121st BSBMarch 4, 2010
While repeated deployments and training may have delayed some Soldiers from pursing higher education goals, many are playing catch-up and getting ahead on their educational goals at Contingency Operating Base Adder.
For Soldiers from the 121st Brigade Support Battalion, this is made possible through the educational programs offered through the University of Maryland University College-Europe. Some Soldiers have even completed a full semester of college while deployed.
For the junior Soldiers, this academic credit can be applied to their military record to get promotion points for sergeant and staff sergeant ranks.
During the current semester alone, the 121st BSB has over 20 Soldiers enrolled in classes in areas such as psychology, human resources, business and management.
The COB Adder education center is managed by Sgt. 1st Class Michael Dees, a senior medic with 4th Brigade, 1st Armored Division.
"[Sgt. 1st Class] Dees is awesome, he is always helping Soldiers get into classes, very knowledgeable about GoArmyEd and setting Soldiers up with their tuition assistance," said Sgt. Liliana Rivera, Human Resources noncommissioned officer in charge, 121st BSB, and a management and organizational theory student at UMUC-Europe.
This month, Dr. Allan J. Berg, vice president and director of UMUC-Europe, visited COB Adder to offer the Introduction to psychology class for Soldiers. The class was a huge success for the university and a great accomplishment for the COB Adder Education Center.
"My first PSYC 100 session had 52 students and the second session had 51 students, which was great, and the students were awesome," said Berg.
In addition, director Stacey Styles visited the COB Adder Education Center to offer the critical thinking class - another success, with over 40 students in attendance.
To round-out its instructional staff, UMUC-Europe has hired two U.S. Army officers to teach fellow Soldiers: 1st Lt. Charmaine Parker, 7th Engineer Battalion, instructs Introduction to Business Management and Management and Organizational Theory and Capt. Musheerah Kolen, a human resources officer with121st BSB, , teaches Introduction to Human Resources Management.
All of the courses are accredited and upon redeployment, the Soldiers can transfer their credits to other schools.
Similar programs are available to deployed service members throughout the theater of operations, and they only need to check their education center to learn more.