Monday, May 21, 2012

‘Army brat’: WSU Online means quality

Judy MonhollenJudy and Paul Monhollen. “There’s just something about being a Coug that you can’t match at any other university!” Judy said.

     She calls herself an “Army brat.” On the Internet, she goes by “wsuarmywife.” Her father was a soldier, she’s married to a soldier, and she was born at Fort Lewis.
     It’s safe to say that Judy Monhollen knows a lot about life in the U.S. Army. She shared that knowledge as a family readiness support assistant at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, Wash.
     “Because I was a person outside the soldiers’ chain of command that they could just talk to, we often talked about their goals in life,” she said. “Many expressed a desire to complete a degree, and most wanted to do it before they got out of the military to set them up for success in civilian life.”
     Judy understands the difficulties of earning a diploma while balancing work and family obligations.
     In 2002, she was finishing up her history degree at WSU Pullman when her younger brother was killed in a car accident. He was 18. The crash was two weeks before his high school graduation. More...     “It became increasingly difficult to concentrate on school,” Judy said. “I moved back home because I needed to be around my family in Western Washington to work through my brother’s death.”
     In 2007, she married Paul Monhollen, who did two tours in Iraq and is now a staff sergeant assigned to HHC, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. The couple is expecting their first child in September.
     After getting married, Judy decided to finish her history degree. She enrolled in WSU Online and graduated in December of that year. She looked back on that experience when soldiers wanted to talk about earning their degrees.
     “I told them that, for me, WSU Online was the best of both worlds. Professors and Ph.D. candidates who are teaching at the physical university are also teaching the online courses, so you get world-class minds teaching your classes. In addition, you’ll be receiving an education from a Pac-12 school, which truly means quality.”
     Some were swayed by her reasoning, she said, and others got swept up by her enthusiasm.
     “They knew what a big WSU football fan I was, so they caught on to the Coug experience, especially around the Apple Cup,” Judy said. “There’s just something about being a Coug that you can’t match at any other university!”

By Richard H. Miller/WSU Online

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