PITTSBURGH - Spc. Kristin A. Ellis is a 32-year-old Information Technology Specialist at the 316th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary). However, she has only been in the Army Reserve for less than three years. What makes someone join the Army after being out of high school for over a decade? For Ellis, it was something she had always thought about doing, but after having knee surgery in 1998, she didn’t think she could do it.
“I played sports in high school, but after the surgery, I hadn’t done anything or even worked out,” said Ellis, a Basehor, Kan., native. “I did one push up at the recruiters. I thought I was never going to make it, but I did it. It’s been a really good experience. I’m proud that I could get through basic training with a bunch of 18-year-olds at age 30. I work out every day now and I’m in so much better shape because of it. I just can’t believe I did nothing for a decade and then made it through basic training.”
At 30, Ellis decided she wanted to join the Army to try and gain leadership skill and for the experience the Army could give her.
“I’m a really good follower so maybe this will pull out some leadership abilities in me,” said Ellis.
One of the opportunities Ellis has to build on her leadership is her job requires her to be in charge of two other soldiers in her section.
“It’s hard to be a reservist and take care of everything and take care of your soldiers,” said Ellis. “It’s a lot of work.”
She stressed being able to focus her full attention to the Army Reserve is challenging with only two days to work with a month. However, she enjoys the opportunity to serve. “It is a good experience.”
Ellis works as an IT Specialist at Deloitte in downtown Pittsburgh having transferred from Washington a year ago.
Even though her civilian and Army jobs don’t require a degree, Ellis has obtained a degree in business administration on her own from Strayer University in Alexandria, Va. With a degree already under her belt, Ellis had the option to become an officer, but decided she would rather start out as an enlisted soldier and focus on her civilian job adding, “I’d rather know they (soldiers) respect me because they know I’ve been through what they’ve been through.”
With the 316th Ellis works at the Tier 2 help desk. If a soldier has computer issues that the Tier 1 help desk can’t fix, it comes to Ellis and her team. She also helps Soldier gain access to the network.
Looking back, after having to go through the Military Entrances Processing Station twice because of her knee, she persevered and was able to accomplish enlisting. Ellis is proud of her accomplishments and enjoys her experience in the Army Reserve even if it meant waiting to join.