Cory Lankford was a Corporal in the U.S. Marines from June 2007 to June 2011. Now, he’s a full-time student at NC State through NC State Online and Distance Education. He’s also working part-time at an independent IT company.
Lankford is currently working toward a Master of Geospatial Information Science and Technology (GIST). He enrolled in the program due to personal interest in the field and specifically chose NC State because everyone he knows who attended NC State has been successful.
“My master’s degree is something for me to fall back on, and it will also make me more competitive than the service members who choose not to continue their education,” Lankford said.
When he left the Marines in 2011, he wanted a more normal life.
“I wanted a normal work schedule that gave me the independence to live my life how I wanted. I also wanted to challenge myself and earn my degree. Distance education made that possible by allowing me to complete coursework on my free time,” Lankford said.
One of Lankford’s first courses through NC State Online and Distance Education was Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences, currently taught by Dr. Roger Woodard, the Director of Online Programs for the Department of Statistics.
Lankford was a little intimidated about taking an online course at first, but that quickly changed once he was able to review the course instruction.
“I found the instruction to be very organized and straightforward, and that goes for all of my courses. All in all, the format of my statistics course gave me the confidence to tackle my first semester as a grad student,” Lankford said.
Lankford is a full-time student, but he plans to switch to part-time so he can better balance his career while working towards his master’s degree.
“I don’t think I will ever stop pursuing my education, because distance education is all at the convenience of my own home, and my own time. I just regret not starting distance education sooner,” Lankford said.
He also added that he’s received a lot of support from the NC State Veterans’ Education Office as well as from student veteran groups on social media. He’s a member of the NC State Student Veteran group on Facebook, a site he says helps veterans connect with future employment opportunities.
“I’m extremely grateful for all of it,” Lankford said.
If you’re a student veteran interested in continuing your education, please review the programs that are offered through NC State Online and Distance Education. Also, review the Veterans’ Education information on the Registration and Records website.