DOTHAN – Lieutenant Colonel Patterson Moses was determined not to let a tour of duty in Iraq and the constant threat of enemy gunfire stand in the way of his education. In between dangerous missions in Talafar, the 48-year-old Army reservist and Troy University student began working on his graduate school thesis.
Studying was a challenge for the soldier, who is earning his Education Specialist degree in Educational Administration through the Dothan Campus. In a nation where computers are scarce, Moses spent his spare time writing about technology and student career development.
“We lived with an Iraqi battalion and the conditions were austere,” Moses recalled. “We did not have Internet or phones.”
Electrical service was unreliable – his battalion was limited to only four or five hours of power a day – so opportunities to study were limited. Moses returned to base camp once a week where he had computer access and was able to conduct research. His studies provided a welcome mental break from the constant worry and the dangerous conditions around him.
“It provided a link to the real world,” he recalled.
Moses returned to Bainbridge, Ga., in July after 13 months on active duty. When not in uniform or in classes at TROY, he serves as assistant principal at Bainbridge High School.
Moses holds master’s degrees from Troy University campuses and locations in Phenix City and Fort Rucker. The close faculty-teacher relationships at TROY have kept Moses coming back for degree after degree. So has the classroom interaction.
“TROY brings seasoned educators together from school systems in Georgia, Alabama and Florida,” Moses remarked. “We feed off each other and share ideas.”
The convenience factor has also allowed Moses to further his education.
“There is always a campus nearby,” he remarked.
Troy University is a major educational provider for soldiers stationed around the world, according to TROY Director of Enrollment Management Sandy Henry. The University maintains a teaching presence at 27 military installations around the globe. The University also participates in the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges network and is the second largest provider of online courses for the eArmyU program.
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Colonel Moses and the other students who are able to continue their education while stationed in Iraq,” Henry said. “Troy University serves thousands of active duty soldiers. Many are deployed in less than ideal conditions, yet they are able to further their studies because of their determination, the convenience of our distance learning programs and the willingness of our faculty to work with them.”
Moses is currently in the process of refining his thesis. He hopes to graduate in May of next year.