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Petty Officer First Class Shares Education Journey, Encourages Sailors to Take Advantage of Educational Opportunities

14 March 2022

From Cheryl Dengler, Naval Education and Training Professional Development Center

PENSACOLA, Fla. – A Sailor with Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 22 is speaking out about her experience using the Navy’s Tuition Assistance (TA) Program and encouraging her fellow Sailors to take advantage of the educational opportunities available to them.

Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Monique Baskins, who serves as the command’s Substance Abuse Counselor, and recently transferred from Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command Meridian, began her Navy career with an associate degree, and always knew she wanted to attain a bachelor’s degree while in the Navy.

Baskins’ parents were the motivation for making education a priority, and she wishes to instill that same enthusiasm in others.

“My motivation is from family values, but over the years as I have grown, it also became intrinsic,” said Baskins. “It is important to me to continue growing and to also be a positive role model for my children as well as my junior Sailors and peers.”

Baskins was introduced to TA by a fellow Sailor and as a petty officer third class, began the process for TA.

“I worked for leadership that was a proponent of education,” said Baskins. “And the process to apply for and use TA has always been easy, from my perspective. It has gotten better over the years that I have been using it, but the gist of it has stayed the same and I have not had any issues.”

Many Sailors echo this sentiment and often speak well of the good customer service they receive from the Navy College Virtual Education Center (NCVEC). In fact, the NCVEC received the top award for the LiveHelpNow Customer Service Challenge for 2021 in the federal government category.

The most challenging part for Baskins was simultaneously juggling her duties as a Sailor and her responsibilities as a wife and mother, while also pursuing her degree.

“The Navy does encourage education, but at the same time, the responsibilities one has as a Sailor do not diminish,” said Baskins. “Therefore, it takes internal motivation and dedication to maintain the expectations that the Navy has as well as pursue your personal goals.”

For Baskins, rising to the challenge only made her more capable and accomplished.

“I believe that if a Sailor is able to do this, it in turn helps them become resilient and diverse in challenging situations, both personal and professional,” said Baskins.

Now with 18 years of service in the Navy, and a bachelor’s and master’s degree, Baskins often provides advice, similar to the advice she received as a junior Sailor, to Sailors she works with.

“I always tell my Sailors, ‘Education does have its benefits when promotion/advancement are being considered,’” said Baskins. “The Navy does its part to help Sailors progress, and knowing that education is an expensive commodity in the civilian sector, TA is just one way that helps Sailors acquire their educational aspirations.”

Baskins realizes not everyone may want to get their degree, but believes all Sailors should take advantage of the opportunity and get started toward a higher education goal.

“Even if you are not interested in going to school, take one or two classes a year and at least work towards some type of degree,” said Baskins. “Time goes by fast, and you don’t want to be out of the Navy or retired and not have that piece of paper.  It does matter once you are no longer wearing the uniform.”

For those eligible Sailors interested in continuing their education journey, there are many ways to get started. Sailors can call the NCVEC via the MyNavy Career Center toll free at 1-833-330-MNCC, Monday – Friday, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. Eastern time.

Sailors can also go to the Navy College Assistance Center via the Navy College website, https://www.navycollege.navy.mil, and click “Chat Now” to chat online with a Navy College education counselor.

Another option for Sailors is to log in to MyNavy Education and submit an inquiry through the Issue Tracker feature in the top right corner.

“Education Counselors are standing by to assist Sailors with any education questions they may have and are always available for counseling to establish plans for education goals of any kind,” said John Begley, an NCVEC supervisor. “It’s important for Sailors to reach out with questions, as we can assist them with a wide range of educational assistance.”

As part of the MyNavy HR Force Development team, the Naval Education and Training Professional Development Center (NETPDC) provides products and services that enable and enhance education, training, career development and personnel advancement throughout the Navy. Primary elements of the command include the Voluntary Education Department, the Navy Advancement Center and the Resources Management Department.

Additional information about NETPDC can be found at https://www.netc.navy.mil/NETPDC.
 

 

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