December 1, 2023

Scholarship helping wife, mom earn master’s

For Hero Behind the Hero Scholarship essay winner Erminia Mikaela Johnson, a very important lesson in life began when she was a child.

“My uncle used to ask me every day when I came home from school what I learned that day,” the Orangeburg, S.C., pharmacy office manager said. “At times, I did not understand why he made me think so hard about what seemed like a chore. Since then, I realized that my uncle was teaching me a valuable life skill: Learn something new every day.”

Thanks to Columbia Southern University, Johnson is learning a lot every day as she completes her online master’s degree in health care management. With the help of CSU’s Hero Behind the Hero Scholarship, she will be able to complete her degree.

The Hero Behind the Hero Scholarship, which honors the spouses and children of active-duty public safety personnel (firefighters, law enforcement officers, EMTs and dispatchers) and military men and women, covers tuition for up to 24 months for one specific online degree program with CSU. The scholarship is awarded six times a year to two individuals each time.

Johnson is married to Detective Sgt. Dustin Johnson of the South Carolina State University Police Department. He is also a graduate student at CSU pursuing a master’s in criminal justice administration.

“I sat back and watched while my husband was able to complete both an associates and bachelor’s degree since our marriage using his GI Bill. He worked all day and came home to study. It was difficult but he is a much better person for it. I want that as well,” said Johnson.

“I found out about the scholarship while helping my husband sign up for his last class a couple of months ago. I knew that our money was tight and that it would be a while before I would be able to sign up for another class,” the former teacher explained. “When I got the call about being awarded this scholarship I was ecstatic! I was really about to give up on finishing my degree. This scholarship is an answered prayer, and I am very grateful!”

The young mom added that she wants to learn more about the business aspect of the medical field in hopes of moving forward in her career. “Eventually I hope to be able to take over running the business from the owner. I know that there will be a long road ahead of me, but I know that if I keep learning something new every day, then I will be able to do anything I set my mind to,” she said.

To learn more about the Hero Behind the Hero Scholarship, please call 888-785-3006 or send an email to If you would like learn more about CSU, please visit