Excerpted from the January 2017 edition of Military Officer Magazine
Since 1948, the Military Officers Association of America Scholarship Fund, supported by your donations has provided educational assistance to the children of military families. It awarded nearly $9.2 million in grants, interest-free loans, and scholarship to more than 1,700 military families in 2016 alone. Four past recipients reflect on how receiving financial assistance from the scholarship fund has shaped their careers.
A knack for numbers
As a child, Debbie Seacrest always excelled in math, thanks to her parents and a grandfather who liked giving her challenging mathematical problems. It’s no surprise, then, that Seacrest went on to get her bachelor’s and master’s and doctorate in mathematics.
Seacrest, whose father is a flight surgeon who retired from the Air Force after more than 32 years of service, explored her passion for math as an undergraduate at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, Calif., thanks to an interest-free MOAA student loan.
“Because of the support from MOAA, I was able to focus on my studies while in school,” says Seacrest. “My undergraduate school was very challenging and I would not have been nearly as successful if I had to balance school and a very time-consuming job.”
Seacrest says the fact that MOAA did not require her to begin paying back the loan while she still was in graduate school allowed her to concentrate on her studies, rather than on how to come up with money to pay back the loan before becoming a professor. Seacrest, who decided at age 3 she wanted to be a teacher, now is a math professor at the University of Montana Western in Dillon, Mont., teaching a variety of math courses.
“My favorite course to teach is the topics course I created, which is based on the idea of learning mathematics through combinatorial games,” says Seacrest.