What started as a planned four-year stint in the U.S. Navy for Kimberly Ebberup turned into two decades of service as an independent duty hospital corpsman. After tours in Iraq, Kuwait, and Somalia, Ebberup retired in 2006 and turned her attention to getting a college degree.
Ebberup found that Northeastern offered her the opportunity to earn her degree while still working, as well as having one of the leading student veteran support systems in the country.
On Friday, she participated at the College of Professional Studies graduation at Matthews Arena and will receive her bachelor’s degree in graphic design.
Here, Ebberup shares her Northeastern experience and how she plans to leverage her graphic design skills into a career in 3-D medical animation.
What was your most significant learning experience at Northeastern?
Working full time and taking a full course load taught me how to manage my time more effectively. I learned that taking courses both online and on the ground allowed me more flexibility.
Why did you join the military?
I joined the military for several reasons. I was putting myself through a community college, working two jobs, and really had no direction. One day, out of curiosity I stopped at a military recruiting office and after talking with a recruiter decided to join the Navy for four years. My intent was to get an education and learn a trade, then transition back into the civilian life with my newly found skills. Little did I know, I would love the Navy and military life. Twenty years later, after working my way up the ranks, I retired. I didn’t have a degree, but I did have leadership skills as well as EMT and paramedic training, not to mention a lifetime of memories.
You have mentioned you want to pursue a career in 3-D medical animation. What about the medical animation field excites you and is there a specific aspect of it that you wish to pursue?
I spent my entire military career in the medical field. After I retired I was hired by a company in Washington, D.C., to teach a defense medical human resource system to military medical facilities around the world. I am excited to combine my medical skills and my graphic design education to create animated medical videos that will walk a surgical patient through an upcoming procedure.
What about Northeastern most intrigued you, and how did it impact your time here?
I was working in Cambridge when I first started. I was looking for a school that had a flexible course offering, and would allow me to work and attend school full time. I also wanted a school that would recognize and respect military veterans. Northeastern was the best around for me, there was no other school that met my needs. I actually relocated to the New York City area, and also spent six months in Las Vegas working at the VA hospital. But I was able to continue taking online courses as they became available for my degree requirements. I started my education at Northeastern in 2010, and with my relocations, it did take me six years to complete, but it was worth the time, effort, and sacrifices.
What is your advice to incoming student veterans to Northeastern?
Join the Student Veterans Organization and get to know your fellow veterans. Take full advantage of the GI Bill; I used the post-9/11 GI Bill for my entire education. Have an education counselor review your military training, as military education can earn many college credits. And lastly, don’t ever give up.