From college student to airman now back to college again.
Christine Ford entered the Air Force as an Airman First Class in December of 1998. As a college graduate she was qualified to enter at the rank of Lieutenant but she chose not to. When asked why, Christine says, "I wanted to learn how to do my job before I tried to tell someone else how to do it." This type of reasoning is a big part of what helps Christine in her transition now from airman to student at UNH. She describes herself as a "mature learner" who was a bit anxious when she first started attending classes. It is precisely this adult personality that her classmates find a welcome addition in class.
While in the Air Force, Christine traveled from Virginia to England to South Korea and then Mississippi. Her favorite station was Osan, South Korea. At Osan Air Base she developed strong bonds with fellow airmen and found her work rewarding though "time-consuming and stressful," she says. Their mission, titled "forced protection," was to enforce curfew for airmen from the base. This meant walking into over 100 bars at curfew and telling airmen it was time to leave. "It took hours to go from bar to bar," Christine says. Because she displayed tenacity and dedication to her work, Christine was rewarded with an exciting S.T.E.P. (Stripes for Exceptional Performer) promotion to Tech Sergeant just prior to her departure from South Korea.
As a student at UNH, Christine displays the same determination in the Marine, Estuarine and Freshwater Program. She chose this major because it will allow her to spend time with her favorite marine mammal, the seal. After completing Introduction to Marine Biology with Professor Harris and loving his teaching style, she was hooked. Christine signed on for a summer 2011 class at Shoals Marine Lab called Anatomy and Function of Marine Vertebrates. It turned out to be one of her favorite classes. "We participated in two fascinating dissections—one of a harbor seal and the other of a white-sided dolphin," Christine recalls. Completion of that class made her eligible to apply for a summer internship at Shoals Marine Lab with a lead researcher from Woods Hole. Recently she found out she has been selected to attend. She’s looking forward to a summer of studying the harbor and gray seal populations at the Isles of Shoals. A true seal lover, Christine describes them as "beautiful, graceful, and very curious, yet cautious."
Along with focusing on her studies, Christine also works in the Veterans Affairs office. Here she helps fellow veterans who are interested in applying to UNH as well as those already here. Using her years of experience both from the military and as a student, she provides a unique perspective to those exploring their options.