On July 10, hundreds of graduates from across the world will convene in Albany, New York for Excelsior College’s 2015 Commencement, to be held at the Empire State Plaza in downtown Albany, New York. “Commencement Stories” explores the stories of a few of this year’s notable graduates.
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Krystal Loader decided in 2012 that going back to school to get her degree was the right choice for her. She will be the first member of her family to attain a college degree. “I’m very proud of myself because it was a huge accomplishment and I knew it meant a lot to my family,” said Loader.
The Portland, Oregon native now resides in Pensacola, Florida with her husband and children. Loader was in the U.S. Air Force for six years before starting a family. “When I got out of active duty, I decided that I really wanted to pursue my degree,” said Loader. “I was still in the Air Force when I was going to school full time and on top of that I was struggling to raise a family.”
To help alleviate the pressure of juggling between being enlisted in the Air Force, school and family life, Loader decided to enroll in Excelsior’s College School of Public Service’s Criminal Justice program.
While taking her courses, she encountered some time management challenges. Admittedly, the 4.0 GPA grad shares that prioritizing was key for overcoming academic obstacles when it came to balancing family and school life. Loader also admits that the support of her family and friends was essential to her success at the College.
Loader graduates with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice degree, specializing in Homeland Security. She reveals that she chose this particular degree to corroborate her military experience working as a signals analyst in the intelligence community.
“The domestic, international and counter-terrorism courses were probably the most influential to me because it gave me a deeper insight into what background I had in the military,” said Loader about her relevant experience.
“It’s been an honor and a great experience to have had the flexibility by getting my degree with Excelsior,” she said.
Loader has enjoyed her experience with Excelsior so much that she has admitted to recommending the College to four different people who are all now currently enrolled, including her sister, one of her best friends, her brother-in-law, and her husband. “I’ve definitely referred everyone I know to you,” she half-jokes.
Although Loader is actively seeking employment, she is ecstatic about the new opportunities that will now be available. For her, having this degree means “stability,” “a future,” and it is “exemplary” to her children. “I am going to use my military background and my education to give me the foot in the door that other people don’t have with this degree,” she explains. “I have such wonderful options. I’m excited about the direction and where I can go with that.”