Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Military experience provides Pledge of Allegiance speaker with valuable background for college experience

Nathan Ferguson, a military veteran who is earning his associate degree in law enforcement technology, will deliver the Pledge of Allegiance during OU-C’s Recognition of Graduation ceremony at 7:30 p.m. on May 1 in the Shoemaker Center. The annual event recognizes students who have earned their Ohio University degrees while pursuing their college careers on the Chillicothe Campus during the 2014-15 academic year.

Ferguson served in the Marine Corps from 2009 through 2013 and was stationed in Afghanistan in 2011. His military background has served Ferguson well in his college pursuits.

“My military experience definitely has made me a better student, especially in terms of the discipline part, setting goals, and things of that nature, as well as having an appreciation for being home,” he said.

However, the transition has not been without its challenges.

“Going from the military to college is an adjustment,” Ferguson said. “I went from doing something entirely different to being in an academic setting, and it takes a minute to get acclimated. The hardest part is being around civilians all of the time. In the Marine Corps subculture, I was surrounded by people who were all very familiar. There is not as much commonality on a college campus, but I have been able to find it.”

“Plus, I am probably prone to not complain about the little things as much as before I went in the military. I still have problems like everyone else, but after being in the Marines, I know it could be a lot worse.”

Ferguson graduated from East Knox High School near Mount Vernon. He is the stepson of OU-C faculty member Kenneth Larimore.

Ferguson has enjoyed his time on the Chillicothe Campus. “It has been a great college experience. The smaller class sizes offer students the opportunity to interact with their teachers, and everyone has been very nice. Dr. (Jim) McKean, my advisor, has been extremely helpful, especially in helping to steer me in the right direction in terms of career choices.”

After completing his associate degree, Ferguson intends to pursue a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice through the Chillicothe Campus before embarking on his career ambitions.

Ferguson has also made a positive impact on others on campus.

“Nathan is an outstanding student who represents our non-traditional student population—enlisted in the military from high school and is now pursuing his LET and BCJ (bachelor’s degree in criminal justice) degrees at OU-C after completing his enlistment,” McKean said. “I selected Nathan as our program’s outstanding graduate and nominated him to deliver the Pledge of Allegiance for his dedication to his studies, his attention to detail and his high level of commitment—desirable characteristics for a future criminal justice practitioner.  Nathan embodies the spirit of OU-C as reflected in our mission to prepare students for the challenges of tomorrow.”

“I echo Jim's choice of Nathan to deliver the pledge during the graduation recognition ceremony,” faculty member Sonja Rawn said. “Nathan was a stellar student.  He was always prepared, and I could always depend on him to stimulate class discussions.  The life lessons that many of our veterans, like Nathan, bring to our classrooms are invaluable.  Additionally, I personally appreciated Nathan helping me out in my criminalistics lab several times after he had taken the class.  His assistance allowed me to focus on the students who were having difficulty with the various projects.”

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