Jonathan Schepper says that prior to joining the Marine Corps Reserves in 2010, he “had no idea” what he wanted to do with his life or career. He put his college plans on hold and set his sights on growing in his professional life.
“After working as a charter fishing boat captain, a boat captain in the oil fields, and currently as a sheriff’s deputy, I came to realize that I will never be able to provide for my family and give them the things that they deserve with me working in these fields [without a degree].”
Soon after this realization, he found Columbia Southern University and applied for the Learning Partner scholarship through his work with the Escambia County Sherriff’s Office in Pensacola, Florida. He was awarded the scholarship and began his first course in May 2018.
“This scholarship could be the difference between me being able to earn my degree or continuing to just dream about earning one,” says Schepper.
Schepper is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in project management. He says his goal now is to one day start his own business.
“After taking a step back and really looking at what I would like to do with my life, I realized that I would like to own or run a business. I am a married father with two children and a third child due July 1 of this year; earning a degree in business is the first step in me being able to achieve my goals for not only myself, but also for my family.”
Schepper says that instilling in his children the importance of education made him finally take the leap into revisiting the idea of earning a degree.
“After my daughter began kindergarten, I found myself constantly telling her how important her education is for her future. I would tell her she needs to learn everything that is being taught to her so that she can make good grades and eventually be able to go to college and get a good job when she grows up,” says Schepper. “While telling my daughter this on an almost daily basis, I realized that the things I was telling her to do, I never did myself. I had allowed my indecision on what I wanted to do as an adult to be my excuse for not continuing my own education. I made the decision at that point to no longer preach about education to her, but that I would instead lead by my example and show her how important earning a quality education is. I hope to be able to show my children that they should never quit learning and that as long as they continue learning, there is no limit to what they can achieve.”
Schepper hopes that earning a degree in project management, coupled with his experience in both public service and the Marine Corps Reserves, will allow him to best pursue his leadership qualities and opportunities. He anticipates graduating in the fall of 2019, which he says wouldn’t be possible without the Learning Partner scholarship.
Learn more about the Learning Partner program, where you can earn a tuition discount for your company’s employees and their families.