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    UW professors allow student to study while deployed abroad



    Story by 1st Lt. Megan Hoffmann 

    Wyoming National Guard

    LARAMIE, Wyo. - There is something comforting about growing up in Wyoming. Although the state sprawls over thousands of square miles, it hosts a plethora of small-towns that are so close-knit residents consider one another family rather than neighbors or acquaintances. With this family-feel comes a generosity that’s unusual in today’s culture.

    Chelsea Nelson, a Laramie resident, has personally felt the generosity of the Cowboy State, especially when it comes to the local community supporting members of the Wyoming National Guard.

    Nelson, who initially joined the Wyoming Air National Guard in 2010 to take advantage of the tuition assistance program, has received much more than she initially bargained for.

    As a staff sergeant in the 187th Airlift Squadron, at the 153rd Airlift Wing in Cheyenne, Nelson is fully qualified to perform aircrew life support and was notified that there was a possibility that she might deploy to Qatar in October with more than 150 personnel from the 153rd Airlift Wing, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

    Nelson, who is also a University of Wyoming student, was alerted five weeks prior to the scheduled departure that she would be deploying. She quickly realized that in order to maintain her planned graduation timeline of spring 2015, she would need to stay in her classes while deployed for more than 90 days.

    Hoping for any assistance, she approached her individual teachers to discuss her circumstances and was met with overwhelming willingness to help her stay on track, including videotaping and uploading class lectures, soft homework deadlines, emailed assignments and extra email availability for help.

    Additionally, supervisors at both of her civilian jobs agreed to hold her position for her while she was overseas. One of them even agreed to supervise the uploading of lectures and organization of care packages.

    “When I learned that Chelsea was being deployed, there was no question in my mind that I would try to do everything I could to help her continue her studies so that she could graduate on time,” said Alexandre Skiba, Nelson’s microeconomics professor at UW. “The men and women who volunteer to serve in the Wyoming National Guard commit to a significant sacrifice on a short notice if they are called for duty. The way I see it, the sacrifice of the few for the many is possible due to the unconditional support for the few by the many.”

    Thorsten Janus, Nelson’s macroeconomic professor added, “My students with military backgrounds are some of the most disciplined, motivated and organized individuals I get to teach. They come in with a positive attitude, sit in the front, pay attention and take steps to overcome learning obstacles, such as asking questions, listening to advice, and making alternative arrangements when they cannot attend class."

    “Chelsea Nelson is an excellent example of this, down to the camera she has arranged to film my lectures. I am happy to be able to support the education of military service members and for the excellent educational support I know they receive from the military, including the Wyoming National Guard,” he said.

    With her professors and civilian supervisors on board, it was time to ask for additional assistance from her military bosses.

    “My military supervisors not only agreed to administer my exams, but put in a lot of work to make all of this happen,” Nelson said.

    Maj. Gen. Luke Reiner, Wyoming’s adjutant general, recognized the support UW showed Nelson by coining her professors.

    “They are an excellent example of the support our military receives around Wyoming,” he said. “People like them make our mission easier to accomplish.”

    Although members serving in the Wyoming National Guard are spread across the nation and around the state, Wyoming has been, and will continue to be, a small state with a big heart toward the local community and its service members.



    Date Taken: 01.07.2015
    Date Posted: 02.12.2015 19:06
    Story ID: 154367
    Location: LARAMIE, WY, US 
    Hometown: LARAMIE, WY, US

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