Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Success Story: Jonathan Turner

Heroes come in all different shapes; this Peirce hero happens to wear a Marine uniform. 

Jonathan Turner first joined the military in 1989, and was on active duty in the US Marine Core until 1993.  He fought in the Gulf War and was one of the first in combat.  After being honorably discharged in 1993, he applied to work for SEPTA where he went on to be employed for 23 years.  Despite having a busy career in transit, he still felt the need to serve and joined the PA Army National Guard in 1999.  Things were good at first, but Jonathan was about to experience a significant change.

“At first it was fun, like a club, but everything changed September 2001 with 9/11,” Jonathan explained. “Our focus changed.  We were preparing for real combat, and were deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in 2008-2009.”

During his time in the National Guard Jonathan didn’t just see combat, he was also deployed during Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy.  He achieved the rank of Sergeant First Class, but despite his impressive service record he still felt like his life was missing something.  Jonathan had served his country, gotten married, and had a wonderful family, but there was one thing he lacked: a college degree.

“I raised children, married, and served.  I wanted to evolve, and better myself for all of those I love.  I wanted to go back to school before, but life got in the way,” Jonathan explained. “I wanted to be a role model for my sons and family.  By going to school and graduating from college, I can be an example for my grown sons to go back to school.”

Jonathan had to make sure that he went to college that would understand his unique education and scheduling needs, luckily he had heard about a certain school that sounded perfect for him from a friend.

“A former first sergeant of mine, William Blackman, graduated from Peirce and is now in the MSOLM program,” Jonathan explained. “[He] told me that Peirce will steer me in the right direction and push me to my potential.”

William’s glowing recommendation certainly helped Jonathan’s decision to go to Peirce, but what really impressed him about the college was its perks for military members.  Peirce College is a Yellow Ribbon School, Service members Opportunity Colleges (SOC) approved, and has been included on the Military Friendly Colleges List for several years. The school has a variety of military scholarships available to help make earning a degree more affordable. 

At Peirce, military benefits also cover students’ spouses, so Jonathan’s wife Robin made the decision to go back to school with him.  He liked that Peirce had excellent tutoring services and support, small class sizes, and a positive community.  He was even given a student advisor that knew how to cater to his specific military background and needs.

“I was nervous about being an older student and not being able to cope with the fast pace that these younger students are used to.  But once I felt the support of Peirce, I thought ‘you can do this’.  Peirce works with enough military members so they know our schedules.  At Peirce you’re not just a number, their family approach reminded me of my military experience.”

Jonathan started to study at Peirce in 2014, and is expected to graduate in 2017.   His experience so far has been phenomenal, and he recommends it to other soldiers.

“I’ve already recommended Peirce to my junior soldiers in my platoon and two of them have enrolled!” Jonathan exclaimed.

He encourages other people, whether they’re military or not, to enroll in Peirce. 

“You can do it.  If you need the extra support, Peirce can help you finish.  If you work hard, no matter how long you’ve been out of school, you will succeed.” 

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