PENSACOLA, Fla. (NNS) — Representatives from nearly two dozen colleges, universities and educational support organizations were on-hand June 7 for the Naval Air Station Pensacola Navy College Office Education Fair.
The fair, held in the Naval Air Technical Training Center’s Charles Taylor Hangar, offered counseling and resources for Department of Defense ID card holders from the greater Pensacola area.
“We wanted to offer our service members and families a wide range of educational opportunities in one place, giving them a chance to do some comparison shopping,” said Elise McGuire, director of Navy College Office Pensacola. “Education fairs, whether virtual or in person, can provide a tremendous amount of information for those wanting to begin or continue their college journey.”
Hundreds of Sailors and Marines attended the fair, most leaving with bags filled with giveaways and pamphlets. Although most attendees were students attending “A” school and just starting their careers, some senior members were also in the information-gathering mode.
“I have my associate degree, and am now searching for a bachelor’s program,” said Chief Air Traffic Controller William Gernert, Basic Radar instructor at Air Traffic Control School, NATTC. “After years of counseling my Sailors on Personal Financial Management, I found that I really had a knack for it and am leaning toward a finance degree. My ultimate goal is to become a Certified Personal Financial Counselor.”
Ashley Burton, admissions counselor for the University of Southern Mississippi, said she participates in about eight military education fairs per year and enjoys reaching out to the military community.
“The process of choosing a school can be overwhelming, and we’re here to help,” said Burton. “We’ve found that there’s value in being able to interact with students in real time. Military members know how important education can be to their career, both on active duty and post-service.”
Also participating in the fair were supporting organizations including the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support, which provides funding for testing such as the SAT and ACT; Troops to Teachers, which assists military personnel obtain teaching certificates and helps place them in classrooms throughout the country; Navy and Marine Corps Credentialing Opportunities On-Line, which helps service members define and obtain civilian credentials closely related to their military rating; and the Navy College Office, which provides career assessments, unbiased counseling services, guidance and information about the Navy’s Tuition Assistance program.
Additional information on the Navy College Program, including the Virtual Education Center (VEC) can be found by visiting https://www.navycollege.navy.mil/ . VEC hours are from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. EST Monday – Friday, and the VEC may be reached by calling: (877) 838-1659 or DSN 492-4684.