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Veteran Earns the College Degree that She Always Wanted During Her Retirement



Mar 04, 2014

When Shauna Isgrigg retired from the Kentucky Army National Guard she considered finding a 9 to 5 job with the federal government, but decided that after many years of serving her country and taking care of her family that she deserved to focus on herself and her true passions. “When I retired in 2009, I thought, ‘What do I want to do?,’” recalled Shauna, who most recently served as Command Sergeant Major of the 751st Troop Command at Fort Knox.

Her thoughts quickly turned to her love of animals, which led her to apply for a job with the Lexington Humane Society, where she now works as an adoption specialist helping to secure “forever homes” for the cats and dogs that are in the organization’s care.

In addition to the career change, Shauna also wanted to use her retirement to earn a college degree, something that she’d never had time to pursue when she was working long hours as a single mom.  “All through your army career and [raising] your kids, you’ve done for everybody else but you.  It’s your turn,” she said of retirement.  “[I want to] enjoy my life, but get an education. I need to learn about what is really going on out here in the civilian world.”

Shauna chose to utilize her Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits at American National University, earning her associate’s degree in the office technology program at the Lexington Campus. “I had always heard it was a great school, just from other veterans talking.  They’re very veteran-oriented, but not only that, they’re for the student,” she explained.  “I do much better in a small setting.  I was unsure of myself, but they give you that ‘You can do it.’  You don’t see that in a big college.”

The computer skills that she gained in her office technology professional program are vital to her work as an adoptions counselor, and with plans to start her own in-home pet sitting service, she’s continuing her education at National in the business administration-management bachelor’s program to develop the skills she needs to be a small business owner.

“My second goal is to pursue this bachelor’s degree and then maybe down the road pursue the master’s [degree],” Shauna said, adding that she wants to increase her knowledge of marketing, accounting, and contract law, and to learn how to build a solid business plan.  “I feel like I’ll get all of that from a business management degree.” 

Shauna said that she wants to continue to learn her whole life, and she looks forward to each class at National.  “I enjoy going to college.  It just makes me feel good every time I go.  The whole experience is awesome.  American National University has made me a better person in the civilian world.”

Student Shauna Isgrigg is a former Command Sergeant Major of the Kentucky National Guard.  She is now working as an adoption specialist with the Lexington Humane Society. 

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tags: KY-Lexington Computer Technology: Office Technology Professional - Associate Degree (OTP)