Now Reading
UF Online Prepares Student for Life After the Military

UF Online Prepares Student for Life After the Military

While serving 11 years as an aircraft mechanic at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Pommary Kem wanted a head start on her next chapter. The 30-year-old, first-generation American from a Cambodian family has a dream to build homes in third-world countries. She decided to enroll in UF Online’s environmental management program to pursue that dream.

UF Online is preparing Kem for her career after the Air Force. She recently moved to Alaska and is on track to graduate in 2024.


Becoming A Florida Gator

Originally from California, Kem moved around a lot before her path led her to MacDill AFB. Kem received an associate’s degree in aviation maintenance from the Air Force. However, she wanted to earn a bachelor’s degree in something she was deeply passionate about. That originally was architecture and engineering.

After researching various schools, none stood out to Kem until she encountered UF Online. It repeatedly showed up as one of the top online programs. She read about the environmental management program and thought it would prepare her well to help build communities.

“I wanted to do something I was passionate about, and it was really hard to find that the first few years in the military,” she said. “I’m a first-generation American, and these are the places my parents have come from. I want other people to have that kind of life, too.”


Studying While Serving in Florida

Like many service members studying at UF Online, Kem had the difficult task of balancing her coursework and military obligations.

“There was a point in time where I was traveling nonstop. I would get home and unpack and pack three days later to leave again,” Kem said. “That’s a great thing about the online program. If I move, I can still take it.”

Kem praised her dedicated academic advisors, who played a vital role in helping her manage her busy work and class schedules. She enjoys the flexibility and accessibility of her online classes. They provide an engaging learning environment from afar. She particularly enjoyed her online soil and conservation course with Dr. Susan Curry.

“There is so much diversity in the projects,” Kem said. “Not everyone finds the same species or has the same type of soil or lives near the same lake doing the same tests. I really enjoyed that a lot.”


See Also

Preparing for Civilian Life After the Air Force

Kem loves her current job as an aircraft mechanic. She plans to continue her military career for the next 10 years. She aims to retire after 20 years in the Air Force and then transition into civilian work.

“When it comes to the military, there are always stipulations that you should go to school. Don’t do it just because they say you should do it,” Kem said. “Pursue a degree that lends to a career that you know you’re passionate about and something you know you’re going to love.”

The Gator Nation wishes Kem success and happiness as she works toward her dreams.

Contributed by UF Online.

Copyright © 2024 Costello Communications & Marketing, LLC

Scroll To Top