Forever Learning – Helping through Human Services

By Ruby Stewart

I am a mother, grandmother, and great grandmother. I am also a proud retired combat veteran, having serving 22 years in the Army.

At first in my life I thought I wanted to be a secretary; that was in middle school. In high school, I wanted to be a teacher. I could not wait to go to college and begin my dream. In 1979, after I graduated with my associate’s degree in early childhood education, I changed my mind. I decided I could help more people if I went for medical training. I joined the military and continued my education learning about EENT — eyes, ears, nose, and throat. Going further, I completed courses for medical technician and health care specialist. From Georgia to Alaska, I continued my medical career working as a Supervisor for General Surgery Clinic, Hearing Conservation Program Manager, Medical Operations Supervisor, and Supervisor for Surgical Services.

My travels in the military took me to Germany, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Hawaii, Japan, and Korea. Even though I served in combat through Desert Storm and Desert Shield, I enjoyed learning about all of the nationalities. I learned to respect their ways and cultures. This was a lesson in life I will never forget.

After I retired from the military in 2008, I did not want to do any more medical work, but I wanted to help people. I was burnt out on medical services. I went to work with the State of Alaska, Department of Corrections and Probation, as an Administrative Clerk. I felt this was not enough, so I enrolled in Alaska Pacific University for my BA in Human Services. I felt I needed to learn more in order to be successful at helping people.

APU was the best recommendation my friends could have made. My military and civilian friends had nothing but the highest of praise to say about this university. The staff, students, instructors, and counselors made me feel so welcome my first semester. “APU has that family vibe!” I have met some very influential professors. I have also had the experience of learning in both outdoor and indoor settings.

Once I finish my BA, I will have many opportunities ahead of me. I know I will be able to focus on the people that truly need the expertise of Human Services. It will be my challenge and pleasure to show the skills and knowledge I have acquired from my studies at APU.