Getting your degree without obtaining debt can be really difficult. But it doesn’t have to be. The military can help you get your degree debt free. And when you graduate you will have a job in the military. Check out how Naomi was able to get her degree, masters, and Ph.D. all paid for by the military. Naomi was able to graduate debt-free with the help of an ROTC scholarship. Check out her story this week on the Women of the Military Podcast!
This episode was made possible by Foundation For Women Warriors. Foundation for Women Warriors (FFWW) is a unique support organization created exclusively for the women veteran community. They provide essential programs to enhance the economic and personal wellbeing of women veterans and their families. Originally established in 1920 to serve widows, war nurses, and mothers of fallen service members, Foundation for Women Warriors is celebrating its 100 year anniversary. FFWW honors the service of women veterans by empowering their future through financial assistance, childcare assistance, and professional development. If you want to learn more about Foundation for Women Warriors and how to get involved head to their website foundationforwomenwarriors.org.
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ROTC and Debt Free
In this episode, we covered all of Naomi’s career. She served in the Army and joined via ROTC which she learned about while she was in college. It allowed her to graduate debt-free and she headed into active duty in 1994. She moved around the country and the world. Serving overseas in Japan and Kuwait. She had the opportunity to get her masters and then work at West Point, which later led to her getting her Ph.D. with a three year follow on to teach at West Point. She ended her career at the Pentagon.
She was married to another service member for a brief period of time. They were never stationed together due to being in the same career field. It was challenging to always be separated. When their daughter was born she was a single parent because her husband was in Egypt. She luckily was able to hire a nanny for the first year of her daughter’s life. When she left West Point and moved to Alabama her divorce was finalized.
After a year in Alabama as Air Command and Staff College, she moved to Fort Bliss and knew she would deploy. Her ex-husband was already deployed when she was gearing up for her deployment. Her family care plan had her best friend listed to take care of her daughter. And that’s what happened. Her best friend took care of her daughter for a year while Naomi was deployed to Iraq. Her daughter remembers spending a year with her cousins and had the love and support she needed. She is grateful her daughter was so young and didn’t notice that her mom was gone.
Transition Out of the Military
Lastly, we covered her transition out of the military. While at West Point the second time she married and her husband. He needed to be in a big city for his remote job. Her daughter was in high school and didn’t want to transfer schools again. That led to wanting to stay in the DC area after the military. With two years of planning and focusing on discovering herself and finding the right job, not just a job. She was able to make a successful transition out of the military. She has so much advice for those looking to join the military or for those planning to leave the military behind.
Connect with Naomi:
Naomi Mercer (she/her, they/them) is Senior Vice President, Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion for the American Bankers Association. She recently transitioned from a military career. She is the recipient of the Bronze Star Medal for her service in a combat theater and the Legion of Merit for her 25 years of service to the nation. Her educational background includes a doctorate in Literary Studies with a minor in Gender and Women’s Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. An Executive Certificate in Strategic Diversity and Inclusion from Georgetown University’s Institute for Transformational Leadership. She is the author of the academic monograph, Toward Utopia (2015).
Mentioned in this Episode:
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