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Born and raised in Mexico, Maria Vega came to the United States at the age of 18 and, soon after, joined the U.S. Army. She spent 20 years in the military, serving in leadership roles in several different countries, including Bosnia, Kuwait, and Korea. She even taught at West Point and retired as a 1st Sergeant in her company. Despite her successful career, Maria has always wanted to be a teacher. “It was one of those things, when people would ask me what I wanted to do, I would always say I wanted to be a teacher,” Maria said.
Though Maria has a master’s degree in counseling, she knew that she needed the credentials to have her own classroom. “I could go into counseling, but I think I can make a bigger impact as a teacher,” Maria said. Upon leaving the military, she became involved in Troops to Teachers, a program that helps military personnel begin new careers as teachers in public schools. Through Troops to Teachers, she found WGU and enrolled in the B.A. Science (5 – 9) program.
Maria was initially very nervous about beginning her degree program but says the support she got from her mentor was always encouraging and positive. “One thing that I love about WGU is that whenever I had a concern, I always received an immediate response and helpful guidance. Even after graduation, I still have a great relationship with my mentor.”
A few terms into her degree program, with the hope of securing a teaching position permanently once she graduated, Maria began a long-term substitute-teaching position for a local school district. Between working and going to school full time, she spent most of her weekends studying. “My WGU experience was very rewarding because I knew there was a positive end result,” Maria said. “Earning my degree means that I will be able to influence this generation of students and guide them to the right path to be successful in life. I’ve always thought that I could make a big impact as a teacher, and WGU helped make that possible.”
Maria is currently a teacher for Clark County School District in Nevada.
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