DVIDS – News – Free and Flexible: USNCC Military Studies Diploma Helps USNCC Students Find Joy in Education

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NORFOLK, Va. – “I’ve never been so driven for education in my entire life!”

In a crowded conference room surrounded by Sailors speaking with enlisted community managers and rating retailers, Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) Petty Officer 3rd Class Gordan Stijak sought the table at the US Naval Community College during of the Naval Career Development Symposium. Inside the Vista Point Conference Center, Stijak said he had poor grades in high school. He immigrated from Prijedor, Bosnia, when he was 2 years old, and his father had dropped out of college to work.

“I always hated school until recently,” said Stijak, of St. Louis, Missouri. He said his love of history drew him to the USNCC Associate of Arts in Military Studies. Now he says he likes the education he is getting. “It’s easy. You do it at your own pace.”

According to Stijak, there are three things he likes most about the USNCC program: flexibility, cost and interest.

“I can do everything at my own pace,” he first said. He said he appreciates that there’s no need to tune in at specific times for a broadcast lesson; he can plan his homework according to his work schedule and personal life. The USNCC program is completely online and asynchronous, offering Sailors the opportunity to further their education while balancing the rigors of military service and personal life goals and needs. As a sailor stationed aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1), much can be expected of him.

Regarding costs, Stijak said, “I don’t pay out of pocket, I don’t touch TA.” Because the USNCC is funded separately from tuition assistance, this means Sailors like Stijak can earn their associate degree without affecting their lifetime limit of 120 credits. This allows these sailors to have the opportunity to save these benefits to pursue both a bachelor’s degree and still have educational benefits for a graduate program. This maximizes educational opportunities for those serving in uniform.

Additionally, the USNCC covers the cost of textbooks and tuition, which can often be a hidden cost to education. Stijak is able to continue his studies without having to use his own money for these additional costs.

“Plus, I’m a history buff. I love history,” he said, explaining how his interest in all things history and the military keeps him motivated in his class work. The USNCC Military Studies program offers active duty Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen the opportunity to focus their training in one of many areas, such as history, political science, criminal justice or geopolitics. This degree program is taught in consortium with Arizona State University. USNCC teaches all five Naval Studies Certificate courses, and Military Studies Diploma seekers attend ASU for the remainder of the 60-credit program.

While the level of interest keeps Stijak motivated to attend class, he also shared how the lessons he’s learning apply directly to his job. “It helped me to see everything, from a military perspective, both from the deck plates as well as from the higher ranks, and even at the political level,” Stijak said. He went on to say that it helps him solve problems in the workplace by seeing it from multiple perspectives. “This is from my point of view. Now let’s look at this from the leader’s point of view, from the officer’s point of view, and even higher than that. What about the mission as a whole?”

Stijak discovered the USNCC on social media one day. “I clicked on the link, went to the website and saw everything I really wanted to know, and now here I am, signed up,” he said, describing how he was easy to apply for the program. “If anyone else thinks about it, I highly recommend it.”

The USNCC offers degree programs in military studies, nuclear engineering technology, cybersecurity, and organizational leadership, with 11 more degree programs slated to go live over the next three years.

The United States Naval Community College is the official community college for the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. For more information about the USNCC, visit www.usncc.edu. Click the Apply Now link to be part of the USNCC Pilot II program.








Date taken: 13.07.2022
Date posted: 13.07.2022 19:12
Story ID: 424935
Location: NORFOLK, Virginia, USA
Hometown: ST. LOUIS, MO, United States






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