Happy Father’s Day!

A wise man at DANTES pointed out to me that this Sunday is Father's Day and, to be fair and unbiased, I'd better get busy on a blog about it! I'm abashed to admit that I hadn't really looked at the calendar, and was caught by surprise. Doubly so, as my Dad's birthday is the 12th.. **sigh** I've already fallen back into my “so sorry but your card will be late” modus operandi.

Fathers are often the unsung heroes of family life. If you were to judge American life by the sitcoms on TV, Dads go off to work to support their families, get verbally abused by their spouses and children, are clueless about modern life, and otherwise are never expected to take part in the day-to-day functions of home life. That is as far from the truth as you can get.

As I mentioned in my blog on Mother's Day, my Dad retired from a career in the Air Force. We moved often, and there were times he was absent from our lives, due to isolated tours and business trips. I was at a young age, and I must admit the best part of his traveling was finding out what he brought back for me and my brother. But, I also have memories of the family sitting down at the dinner table, sharing the day's events and dramas. No matter what happened, I knew he always had my back.

I never knew how much that was the case until much later. Skip forward a few years (we'll bypass the tempestuous “teen” years, thank you very much) and I've graduated from high school and am attending University. My life is unfocused and I'm getting tired of working full time and going to school full time, with no time for me. My Dad had always suggested going into the military, but up until now, that was not what I wanted to do. Suddenly, it wasn't such a bad idea after all. Maybe because he didn't push the issue, until it was my own idea. Maybe he's a wise man, after all.

After talking with several recruiters, I decided to join the Navy. People asked my Dad if that bothered him, being career Air Force and all. He would just reply, “No. I'm just glad she's signing up with ANY Service. She's going to get an education and a job, and that's fine with me.” Go, Dad! I chose the Communication field, and went into the Delayed Entry Program, as there wasn't an available school seat for almost a year. So, jump ahead a year: I've quit my job, had my farewell “Anchor's Aweigh” party, and I'm all set to fly off the next day to boot camp in sunny Florida. I go downtown to the Navy recruiter office for final processing and get a load of bricks dumped on me: They very calmly tell me that my medical screening is over a year old and I don't have time to get a new one. I was less than calm - I was devastated! I lost my school seat, my rating, everything. No way was I going to go undesignated to a ship and chip paint. So I told them to stuff it, or words to that effect. This is where my Dad took control, Bless him. He got on the phone to our local Congressman, explained the situation, and asked him what he was going to do about it. Wish I could have heard that conversation! Next thing I know, I get a phone call from the Navy recruiter telling me to come in to pick my rating and they will make it happen. Awesome, Dad! My “knight-in-shining-armour.”

So, why am I sharing another of my family memories? To get you to think of what your Dad (or Dad-like figure) has done for you in getting you where you are today. Without my Dad's intervention, I wouldn't have a wonderful husband and two great sons, had a Naval career that brought me great satisfaction, traveled the world, and, not least, finally gotten that degree I started way back in the beginning of all this. Fathers can be a positive influence in their kid's lives every day by providing instruction, guidance, support, and advice (not always asked for or heeded!). Or, by making that all-important life-changing phone call, if need be. So, to all the Dads out there that may not get the recognition, respect or honor that they deserve: “I salute you!” Now, get out there and fire up the grill. I feel a BBQ coming on.

And to my Daddy: thanks and I love you! You may not remember everything you did for me, but I do. And that's what really matters. Virtual hug!

For valuable education resources, check out the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) Web site http://www.dantes.doded.mil/index.html.

Nancy Hamilton, DANTES Editor

June DIB now online!

Check out the latest news at http://www.dantes.doded.mil/_content/dib/2014/DIB_Jun_2014.pdf

Some articles :

- Enhanced MOU partnership with educational institutions
- Michelle Alexander: New DANTES team member
- Exams News: SAT Form 69 cutoff date; SAT to be updated; Praxis paper-based tests to end
- DANTES European Advisor: Celebrating success - Old World style!
- Partnerships News: 2014 ACE Guide CD now available
- TTT News: North Carolina honors fallen hero with "Corporal Pruitt Rainey Brass to Class Act"
Enjoy!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Whatever you call her – Mother (my personal favorite), Mom, Ma, Mater, Mamma, or Mommy – don't forget that this Sunday is her big day!

I am fortunate in that my Mother is still with me, and this week I broke a lifetime habit of tardiness and actually got my Mother's Day card mailed on time! Hope she doesn't faint. Ha! She got the requisite 'cat' card (I always give cards with cats on them!), but also a sappy one that shows just how much she means to me. Not that I could ever express that in words.

My Mother isn't famous, she didn't cure the common cold, she didn't climb Mt. Everest, she didn't even go to college. But, she did a great job raising my brother and me, made sure we had a happy childhood, and gave us the tools we would need to survive and maybe even succeed in our adult lives.

She and my Dad met in the Air Force (he was her supervisor!). He eventually wore her down and they got married. When she was pregnant with my brother, she had to leave the Air Force. Seems, at the time, women were incapable of being both a Mother and a Service member. Oh, how things have changed! My Dad's job meant he transferred every 18 months or so – yes, that often! Plus, he had a couple of isolated tours, and traveled often. That meant it was up to Mother to keep the family running smoothly, for the most part anyway. When he retired and they had to decide where to settle, they chose a place that had a university nearby, so that my brother and I could live at home while getting a degree. See, even though nether of them had gone to college, it was important to them to give us the opportunity. My brother knew what he wanted and got his degree, then a job, then a wonderful family life. Showoff! Me, I took another path – a few years of college fun and games, then I joined the Navy. Not a bad choice – I eventually got my own wonderful family life and my degree. Just took me a little longer.

So, why am I sharing all of this? Hopefully, to get you to take a moment to think about how you got where you are today – and who helped you along the way. I hope your Mother was by your side, helping you and supporting you, like mine was. Or, maybe you had someone else in that role. Whoever it may have been, they probably made difficult choices and sacrifices for you, all in order to give you a good life and those life tools I mentioned earlier. And maybe even the desire to pursue higher education (I hope so!).  If they are still with you, be sure to give them a big THANK YOU and hug on Sunday. Mine gets a virtual hug this year – Love you mucho, Mother!

Oh – and if my sons are reading – be sure to make it MILK chocolate, not that dark stuff. ; )

For valuable education resources, check out the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) Web site http://www.dantes.doded.mil/index.html.

Nancy Hamilton, DANTES Editor

 

Check out the May DIB!

http://www.dantes.doded.mil/multimedia/index.html

 Some of the articles include:

- Join DANTES and Navy VolEd in celebrating the big 4-0

- 2014 GED voucher and reimbursement information

- SOC updates

- ACE military programs webinar dates

- TTT News and Transitioning from Troop to Teacher

- From the Desks of the Senior Enlisted Advisor and Reserve Component Advisor

- Changes to Service education programs

- New DANTES Web site links

- OASC & CPST - One registration, two programs

OASC/CPST Downtime

Peterson's will be performing system updates to the OASC/CPST server. Messaging will be added to the course homepage and welcome page to alert students and administrators. The Web site/products may not be available during that time.

When: 11:00pm (EST) Saturday, May 3 to 7:00am (EST) Sunday, May 4

Putting off your education? Don’t!

pro·cras·ti·nate (verb) to put off till another day or time; defer; delay.
ma·ña·na  (Spanish noun) tomorrow; the (indefinite) future.
“I'll think about that tomorrow.” Scarlett O'Hara's famous last words in “Gone With The Wind” by Margaret Mitchell

I am the Queen of the Procrastinators. Every year on January first, I resolve to do my income tax returns as soon as those pesky forms arrive. And every year I flip the calendar to April and say, well, I won't go into what I say. Birthday cards? I buy them early, and maybe, just maybe, I'll mail them. Christmas presents are supposed to be wrapped in plastic grocery bags, right? Right? And don't even get me started on last year's vacation pictures that I was going to edit, caption, and upload to the cloud for everyone to see. In other words, I am too often like Scarlett – I put a hand to my forehead, close my eyes, and say, in a breathy Southern drawl - “I'll think about that tomorrow!”

Fortunately, one thing I didn't procrastinate about was my education. I started taking college courses way back before I joined the Navy (I wrote my papers on parchment paper with a quill pen, according to my smart-aleck sons). During my career, I used tuition assistance to take courses as my duties allowed, took a subject-specific GRE, and used ACE-recommended credits for my Navy training and experience. It may have taken me over 15 years, without much in the way of helpful education counseling I might add, but I finally put it all together in a degree plan and received my bachelor's degree. Not bad, considering my ‘mañana’ tendencies.

If I were to try the same thing today, it would go much, much easier. Now there are many programs and services in place that make the entire education process easier: SOC and MOUs ensure Service members’ credits transfer with them so that they don't have to repeat courses; the Joint Service Transcript (JST) and Air Force Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) transcript consolidate military training and experience into recommended credits that college institutions may apply to degree programs to reduce time and money for Service members; education counselors, both human and virtual, as well as agencies like DANTES, are available to help with every step of the way. Many resources, like OASC/CPST and the MWR Library, are in place with the sole purpose to help Service members reach their education goals. Service members no longer have to go it alone to reach their goals. Expert help is there for the asking.

So, to all you procrastinators out there - GET STARTED, if you haven't already. What are you waiting for? Meet with an education counselor, formulate a plan for your educational goal, move toward it, and don't wait until tomorrow! Tuition assistance is here now, but changes are in the wind. Downsizing is on the horizon. Take advantage of your education benefits NOW, while you still have them. No excuses. No 'mañana'. No “I'll think about that tomorrow.” Get started today!

Now, I'm off to mail my Valentine's Day cards. Maybe I'll add a note to say that they are for 2015 and be early for a change!

For valuable education resources, check out the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) Web site http://www.dantes.doded.mil/index.html.

Nancy Hamilton, DANTES Editor

Farewell Lt. Col. Stanley!

LTC StanleyDANTES bids farewell to Lt. Col. Eurydice Stanley, DANTES Reserve Component Advisor (RCA), who retires this month after 20 years Service in the National Guard. As RCA, she was an active spokesperson for voluntary education, presenting educational awareness training at military installations from Alaska to Washington, D.C., assisting DoD Reserve personnel and family members achieve their personal and professional education goals.

Considering herself to be a life-long learner, it is no surprise that she also enjoyed presenting relevant training classes to Service members. She wrote many articles that were published in forums such as Joint Forces Quarterly, Military Advanced Education, and the Stars and Stripes newspaper.

Stanley received an Army ROTC scholarship to attend Florida A & M University (FAMU) where she earned a degree in Public Management. A Distinguished Military Graduate, she was commissioned in 1990, awarded a scholarship to attend the University of Minnesota, receiving a Master’s degree in Industrial Relations, and studied International Business in Lyon, France. She graduated summa cum laude from Louisiana Baptist University in 2000 with a doctorate in Christian Counseling and Psychology.

Stanley said, “I take great pride in a career dedicated to human relations training, public affairs and Service member education, and in taking care of Service members.”

Join us in wishing her all the best, and Fair Winds and Following Seas. Hooah!

Troops to Teachers is Fired Up

I have to say that exciting things are occurring within the Troops to Teachers organization: TTT participants are being featured on the White House Joining Forces Blog; we are getting ready to celebrate TTT’s 20th anniversary in October; and we just completed our most successful state/regional managers meeting to date.

One of the most exciting sessions during that meeting was presented by Joey Strickland, TTT Director of Indian Affairs. He really keyed in on the need for our Native American Service members to “Continue to Serve” in America’s classrooms, especially on reservations and in remote locations.

If you would like to see more highlights of our meeting, please view the April DANTES Information Bulletin located at http://www.dantes.doded.mil/_content/dib/2014/DIB_Apr_2014.pdf.

For information on how to become part of this remarkable program, please visit www.proudtoserveagain.com and be part of a team that is reaching for the stars.

For valuable education resources, check out the DANTES Web site http://www.dantes.doded.mil/index.html.

Teresa Daniels, DANTES Troops to Teachers Assistant Chief

Security – A Thing of the Past?

I remember when all it took was a locked door to be secure. Those days are long gone. Now, with the electronic world enveloping you 24/7, all it takes is a weak password or lazy security practice to lay your personal life open to anyone evil enough to take advantage of it. I can barely remember all of my passwords that require “2 upper, 2 lower, 2 numbers, 2 special characters, 3 hieroglyphs, 1 color, and a 15-digit binary number.” Well, at least that's what it seems to take these days to be sure no one can peek at all of my cat pictures posted to my social media accounts. Or, maybe more importantly, my on-line banking data.

It seems like every day there are news reports about some security breach due to hackers or someone losing a laptop packed full of unencrypted personal data (WHO WOULD DO THAT????); major companies hacked for credit card information; banks releasing account information; our own government hacked by the bad guys – losing who knows what kind of information. Paying attention yet? You should be.

Graphic of Password windowSo, what can you do about it? Well, first go change your passwords. And seriously, make them hard to crack – not your kid's birth dates, or your favorite sports team, or your street address. Next, take a hard look at your personal habits. Are you glued to your smartphone, checking posts and videos and photos – installing apps without looking into just what they have access to? When was the last time you updated the security patches and anti-virus signatures on your computer? (If you have to ask “what's that?” then it's been toooooo long so get busy!) What about that really cute guy sitting behind you at the coffee house when you did some online banking? Think he was enamored with your winning smile? Or maybe, just maybe, was he writing down all of your personal information? I hate to tell you, but it's a scary scary world out there in cyberland.

If you want to get a handle on the latest virus or threat, just search the Internet and you'll find plenty of information. Look for online technical publications or companies, search for blogs, check out the news services. One blog that has great information is KrebsonSecurity by Brian Krebs, a former Washington Post reporter and self-taught computer and Internet security expert. His blog is full of informative and frightening stories on the latest cyber-threats and security issues. Just the other day he posted ‘Heartbleed’ Bug Exposes Passwords, Web Site Encryption Keys, an extremely critical vulnerability in recent versions of OpenSSL. OpenSSL – you know – the technology that puts the 'secure' in 'https://'. THAT OpenSSL. Scared yet? Changed your passwords yet? The answer to both questions should be a resounding “YES!”

If you want to be more than a passive observer to all this craziness, you should know that cybersecurity is one of the hottest and fasting growing job fields. Learn more about career paths at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/information-security-analysts.htm.

No Trespassing signOf course, there are non-technical answers to the cyber-security problems out there. In fact, I think I've found one myself. So pardon me while I go find a nice cave to live in... with wifi of course.

For valuable education resources, check out the DANTES Web site http://www.dantes.doded.mil/index.html.

Nancy Hamilton, DANTES Editor