Makin Island Holds Education Fair
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Justin Webb, PCU Makin Island (LHD 8) Public Affairs
Pascagoula, Miss. – Precommissioning Unit (PCU) Makin Island’s (LHD 8) command career counselors (CCC) in Pascagoula, Miss. and San Diego, Calif. gave Sailors the chance to learn about educational opportunities available to service members and their dependents during educational fairs Aug. 13.

Makin Island’s CCC invited colleges, universities and educational institutions from the Gulf Coast and Southern California regions to enrich Sailors by providing information on ways to work on a degree while in the Navy and informing them of programs available outside of the service.

“This is the second time we have had an educational fair, and I am really happy with the turnout of the Sailors both here in Pascagoula and in San Diego,” said Navy Counselor 1st Class (SW) Debbie Hamlin. “With ship’s delivery not happening until spring of next year, Makin Island Sailors should take advantage of getting some college courses under their belt prior to the extremely busy time that comes with preparing a ship for commissioning.”

One particular university representative flew more than 1,400, miles from Colorado to Mississippi, to show Sailors they can take courses within the comfort of their homes or barracks rooms.

“I thought the [educational fair] was awesome, and I really appreciate being invited out here,” said Joe Oliver, assistant director of admissions for DeVry University. “When you are in Pascagoula, you are limited on choices because you don’t have any Navy bases in the immediate vicinity. My primary reason for coming here was to inform the Sailors that they may take any of our classes online.”

Aviation Ordnanceman 1st Class (AW) James Natal has 18 years in the Navy and decided to attend the Pascagoula fair because retirement is just around the corner and he wants to start preparing for life after the Navy.

“I thought it was a great idea to have them come here because there is no Navy campus in the direct vicinity,” said Natal. “This fair let me know about the various opportunities available to Sailors, and I even decided to enroll at DeVry.”

Natal also said he was sold on DeVry because Oliver, who is a former Sailor, seemed genuinely concerned and understood the educational needs of members of the military.

Hamlin added that she looks forward to continuing these annual fairs and hopes that next years event will be even bigger.

Sailors, who are in their nine to 12-month negotiating window for orders and would like to be considered for the pre-commissioning command, can contact their rating detailer and request to be released to the pre-commissioning detailer for further assignment to Makin Island.
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