Serving as an infantryman in Afghanistan hasn’t stopped Army Sergeant Jason Bateman from continuing his education. Even during deployment, Bateman has managed to take computer science classes online through Rio Salado College.
“I would like to be able to say that I was able to get my degree while working a full time job,” said Bateman. “Plus, it would be nice to have the credentials to be able to get a good job when I get out of the army."
Bateman knew the basics of computers, but didn’t realize the extent of what computer programs have to offer. He is currently enrolled in online classes such as Intro to PowerPoint and Microsoft Access and plans to earn a certificate of completion in computer programming and associate degree in applied science.
However, balancing a full-time job while taking classes can create challenges.
“The biggest obstacle is to keep up a steady pace on my classwork,” said Bateman. “While I am here in Afghanistan, there are not too many distractions, but back at home, there are distractions, everywhere you look.”
Bateman has long history of family members who served in the military and enlisted in 2001 just two weeks after graduating from high school.
“It was always my dream to be in the military, but not in school. My grandfather graduated from Ohio State University while pursuing a career in the Air Force. So I know that it can be done,” said Bateman.
He hopes that he will also be a positive example for his daughter who just started kindergarten.
“I think that if I am able to show her that I am going to school, it will motivate her to try harder,” he said.
His advice to other military members with an interest in pursuing a degree during their service is to get enrolled.
“With the educational programs that are offered by the military, it’s very easy to obtain a degree. It might be difficult due to training schedules with the military, but it is absolutely possible,” said Bateman.
About Rio Salado College
Rio Salado College was recently recognized as a military friendly school for the fourth consecutive year by Victory Media. The college currently serves about 1,800 active duty services members, spouses and dependents and about 900 veterans. Rio Salado College also has a team of advisors with military experience that are available to help active military or veteran students throughout their academic experience.
Published in the Tempe Republic Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012.
Written by Rio Salado College PR Intern Patricia Oliverio-Lauderdale