Student Profile

Spouses to Teachers Scholarship and WGU Work for Busy Military Wife

by Tessa Ashworth

Life as a military spouse is not always easy, and it sometimes requires us to put our dreams on hold to support our spouse's military careers. While I was pregnant with my first child, I had many hopes and dreams for how my husband and I would share the first years, smiles, steps, and words of our little girl. When our daughter was two weeks old, I found out I would be witnessing these milestones alone. My husband told me that he would be deploying to Afghanistan within the next two months and that his tour would be 15 months long. As a strong military wife, I replied that I would be okay, and we would make it work.

I needed something to fill the time so I decided to take some college classes, and work towards becoming an elementary school teacher. I started taking some classes through a local distance education program, and I completed my associate's degree in August at Utah State University, just before my husband returned from Afghanistan.

Our daughter was now 18 months old, and I wanted to be able to stay home with her and enjoy our time together as a family because of the previous 15 months apart. I decided the time was right to continue my education and work towards attaining my bachelor's degree because my husband could help care for our daughter. That is when I decided on Western Governors University because of the flexibility to pursue my Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies.

Relying solely on my husband's military income in order for me to be at home with our little girl, I needed to find a way to help pay for my education. I applied for the WGU Spouses to Teacher's Supplemental Scholarship and was awarded a $1,500 grant.

My husband is working for the Utah Army National Guard. He works about an hour away from where we live, so he is gone before my daughter and I get up. I try to devote my morning to spending time with my daughter, but when she takes a nap, I really try to make the most of that time doing schoolwork. My husband works four 10-hour shifts, so he is home on Fridays to take care of my daughter. He is always encouraging me devote the entire day to studying and supporting my drive to accelerate.

My appreciation for WGU's flexibility is greater than ever before because we can do things as a family without my schoolwork suffering. If something comes up and I need to spend extra time with my daughter, I won't be late for class and can always make up the time at a later date. I can plan ahead if we want to take a family vacation and accomplish two weeks of work in one, so I can enjoy our time together.

I started in February 2008 and within just two months, have already completed 13 assessments. Upon graduation, my dream job would be to teach first grade at a local elementary school because I think kids at this age are excited about learning and curious about the world. WGU has definitely provided the answer that so many military spouses need to continue their education.

Check out the Spouses to Teachers site at: http://www.spousestoteachers.com Check out the two scholarship options that WGU has to offer military spouses: www.wgu.edu/militaryspouses.