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Student Returns to STLCC to Fulfill Her Dreams

November 05, 2015

Mandy Kurtz  
Mandy Kurtz

Nearly six years after first starting at St. Louis Community College, Mandy Kurtz returned this semester determined to finish her associate degree.

In addition to taking a full course load at STLCC-Wildwood, she’s the club president for Volunteers of Wildwood (VOW), a member of Title IV and the Returning Learner’s Club, and is a student worker on campus.

“I am thrilled to be back at school,” Kurtz said. “I wish I had finished my degree earlier, but I needed the time to truly figure out my career path and create a plan to make it all happen.”

Part of Kurtz’s plan included enlisting in the Air National Guard.

“Nearly all of the men in my family have served in at least one branch of the service, including my dad. He served in the Guard as well,” Kurtz said. “After much research, I decided to enlist in the Air National Guard – mostly because of the benefits and the ability to continue my education without incurring additional debt.”

Mandy Kurtz in uniform  
Mandy Kurtz was coined by her Command Chief in
September in recognition of her commitment to aca-
demics and her contributions to the Air Force.

While serving as an Airman First Class, Kurtz supports her comrades through her role as a certified Victim’s Advocate for the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) program. Before she could provide support for victims, she had to receive command approval, pass screening and background checks, and complete 40 hours of intensive training.

“I’m proud to be a Victim’s Advocate,” Kurtz said. “I enjoy working with others, and through this additional role I am able to help victims have a voice and gain the support that they need.”

In recognition of her commitment to her academics and her contributions to the Air Force, Kurtz was coined by her Command Chief on Sept. 13. Coins are a special honor because they are typically presented by unit commanders as awards for outstanding service and performance of duty.

In 2016, Kurtz is scheduled to deploy with her unit. While away she plans to continue her coursework by taking online courses at STLCC.

“I am focused on achieving my goals, and I know there is nothing I can’t do if I put forth the appropriate amount of time and effort,” she said. “After I earn my associate degree, I plan to pursue a bachelor’s degree. My ambition is to start my own non-profit organization. I simply wish to serve others.”