USS SHOUP, At Sea (NNS) -- Sailors aboard USS Shoup (DDG 86) took advantage of free college courses while at sea in July and August 2010 through the Navy College Program for Afloat College Education (NCPACE).
"This was my first college class ever," said Culinary Specialist Seaman Lakia Mitchell, a native of Jacksonville, Fla. "I'm going to take an English course next; I'll take every course I can."
Through NCPACE, Sailors can earn college credits while on active duty at sea for only the cost of books. Civilian instructors embark on ships for six to eight weeks and teach a variety of courses, which are chosen based on Sailors' interests and needs.
During the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group's recently completed composite training unit exercise, several Sailors participated in a general psychology class taught by Dr. Pamela Smilo of San Diego.
In order to accommodate Sailors' hectic schedules, the course was taught twice a day.
"There are definitely challenges," said Smilo. "You can't teach a class during a fire drill. But there are also benefits, like small class sizes, which many students use to their advantage."
Shoup is currently deployed as part of the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group.