Each year, around 300,000 undergraduates take a break from their home institutions to study abroad.
Amber Clement, however, was already a world traveler by the time she enrolled in State Fair Community College, just a few days after returning from Okinawa, Japan, where her husband had been deployed.
“I think all newlyweds should get married and move away,” Clement says with a smile. “It forces you to have to work together.”
Pursuing a degree had been on her mind for some time, but with any military life, either as active duty or a spouse, Clement says you have to really commit to doing it. Students at Whiteman Air Force Base are often already balancing family and military life, making them particularly driven to get an education.
“College, to me, is more important now than it ever has been,” Clement says. “Who knows what the future is going to hold? If we want to be a generation who makes a difference, we need to educate ourselves,” she says.
With a campus right on Whiteman and military tuition rates extended to spouses, Clement says SFCC was an easy choice citing the small class sizes and strong relationships she has fostered with her teachers.
“I feel like you’re really getting a private school experience at a public community college here. And that really sets it apart.”
While Clement describes all of her classes as great experiences, one in particular, Cindy Harmon’s Anatomy course, fostered her fascination with the human body, setting her on a pre-med track and getting her into tutoring.
“What started with a group of one or two of us working together eventually turned into half that class. We’d meet at my house and study,” she says.
They kept up the practice when most of them moved onto Physiology and then started picking up students from other classes as well. Eventually, it turned into a Facebook group where students could swap notes and help each other through problems.
“Then I just started tutoring people who needed it, even though I wasn’t in the class anymore,” Clement says. Not long after, Tutoring and Academic Support Coordinator Julie Crawshaw called and hired her as an official tutor.
Mrs. Crawshaw was one of many employees that Clement wished to thank for their enduring support. The staff, she says, goes above and beyond to make SFCC an incredible experience for all their students.
“This is my little home,” she says. “I found I really loved this place.”
Story by Jackson Ingram
Summer 2017 Communications Intern
Marketing and Communications