As a Marine Corps intelligence analyst, Staff Sgt. Dawn Bybee ’19 knows firsthand the importance of fully understanding complicated—and often foreign—languages and cultures. This was true both when she was deployed to Afghanistan and when she began contemplating a college education.
“It’s intimidating to go to a new unit when you’re in the Marine Corps, but you generally know what to expect,” she explained. “In going to college, though, you don’t know what to expect. It’s important to have someone who can translate the college experience.”
So, when the California native’s college search led her to Texas A&M and its VRSC, she had a strong feeling where she would land. At the VRSC, she said, “they speak my language.”
Bybee, 29, is attending Texas A&M thanks to the Marine Corps Enlisted Commissioning Education Program, which enables her to retain her active duty status and income. She is also the recipient of one of the VRSC’s major scholarships. Bybee plans to graduate in December with a university studies degree in religious thought, practices and cultures.
While at Texas A&M, Bybee trains with Naval ROTC members in the Corps of Cadets and helps teach military courses. Mentoring these young cadets, she said, is among the highlights of her college experience.
When she returns to her Marine Corps career full time, Bybee will do so as a newly commissioned officer with a new outlook for her future. “Through my years in the Marine Corps, I’ve found that officers with a college degree are the most respected and receive the most leadership opportunities,” she said. “Now, I’ll be one of them.”