Salute to Learning Together grads
About 535 Boeing employees are graduating this spring with degrees as diverse as our population. They have taken newly-retired Boeing Vice Chairman Harry Stonecipher at his word ''I intend to have the best-educated work force in the world'' and challenged themselves to seek further education through the Boeing Learning Together tuition-reimbursement program.
This June, during cap-and-gown season, Frontiers celebrates the accomplishments of these graduates and shares a few of their stories. For information about Learning Together, visit http://learningtogether.web.boeing.com/ on the Boeing intranet.
Online education benefits traveler
Constant travel for the company had kept Doelan Wilcox from pursuing his dream: earning a bachelors degree in aviation maintenance management.
Wilcox got in touch with the Learning Together staff in St. Louis and learned he had online alternatives that didn't require attending a college campus.
As part of the Integrated Logistics Support Planning and Management group, Wilcox travels to military bases when the U.S. Navy takes delivery of a Super Hornet fighter. He performs maintenance-transition and site-activation duties. ''I want to move up the ladder and I can't do that without a college degree," he said.
Wilcox is enrolled at St. Louis University, where he earned an associate's degree this year, but he also is attending the University of Phoenix online. Those online credits will transfer to St. Louis University and be used toward his bachelor's degree. He's got nine credits to go.
''With all the traveling I do, it's really hard to attend traditional classes," Wilcox said. ''Now, when I'm traveling, I can log on from my hotel room and I won't miss a day of school."
'I couldn't turn down the offer'
Ann Leba sized up her six-year Boeing career and decided the next step was to return to school for a master's degree in aeronautical science. A project engineer with Space and Communications in Houston, Leba currently works in cockpit development for the space shuttle astronauts.
Leba said stiff competition for Boeing jobs prompted her to attend Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University through the Learning Together Program. Classes she took at a NASA facility were accredited to the university.
''The company encourages us to become more educated and is willing to pay for it," Leba said. ''I just couldn't turn down that offer.
''I believe women, in particular, should take advantage of this opportunity to further their education and to advance their careers here at Boeing. It's also a terrific building block for personal growth."
The big picture comes into view
Scott Jones went back to school for two reasons: to remain competitive in a competitive industry and to earn an officers commission in the U.S. Air National Guard.
A quality engineer for C-17 aircraft support systems in Long Beach, Calif., Jones received his bachelor's degree in aeronautics two years ago, earned his commission as an aircraft maintenance officer last year, and this month will graduate from Argosy University with a master's in international business.
''It's funny," Jones said. ''I was an anti-education person for a while, but I've seen the big picture now.
Learning Together is an excellent deal. It's almost silly not to go back to school."
A lesson in perseverance
In 1977, Laszlo Szelle left San Francisco State University a few hours short of a bachelor's degree in history. Today, Szelle has a college diploma on his desk—thanks, in part, to the Learning Together Program.
''I've been talking about completing this degree for 23 years during my performance management reviews," Szelle said. ''Last year, I decided to do something about it."
SFSU worked with Laszlo to enroll him at the University of Washington. Once he completed the missing classes, the California-based university accepted his transcripts, and the diploma was his.
''I think having a degree opens up opportunities for future job assignments," Szelle said. ''Now I'm considering a master's in business or engineering."
Szelle also is an occasional fifth-grade teacher in Everett, Wash., where he works as a 777 Manufacturing planner. He volunteers his time in the Boeing-sponsored A World In Motion program, teaching science and math. ''It's fun to give something back to the community," he added.
No age limit to learning
It's never too late to go back to school, according to 52-year-old Patrick Reall, the West Coast Field Services manager for Military Aircraft and Missile Systems.
Now working at Naval Air Station, Lemoore, Calif., Reall has been based in Iran, Turkey, Germany, Australia, the Philippines and several stateside sites during his 26 years at Boeing. Reall said he never spent enough time in one place to earn the master's degree he always wanted.
''When I moved to California it looked like I might be here long enough to complete the two-year, distance-learning program offered by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University," Reall said.
Reall's goal was to score a 4.0 grade-point average, and he accomplished that while earning his master's in aeronautical science with two specializations, aviation aerospace management and aviation aerospace operations.
With two young children at home, Reall said his dedication to continuous
learning ''has really inspired them to want to study."
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