Find out more about the educational path this alum pursued.
Meet Jennifer Green-Lanchoney, MM '14
When Jennifer Green-Lanchoney quit college to get married at age 19, she had a plan.
She’d be the dutiful Air Force wife, following her husband, Scott, from base to base through his deployments. They’d start a family and she’d stay home to raise the children. And then someday, when life settled down, she’d go back to school.
But life doesn’t always work out the way we plan.
After two deployments to Iraq, the family was transferred to Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Green-Lanchoney was 27; the kids were 4 and 2. With her husband now stateside, she thought the worst of her worries were over. But then came a fatal accident, leaving Green-Lanchoney with a life she never planned for.
“I found myself a single mom looking at the long-term reality of not being able to support my family,” says Green-Lanchoney. “And that is a scary, scary vision.”
Green-Lanchoney had no career experience. She didn’t have a college education. She had to rely on family to help keep herself afloat financially. It was the last place she ever expected to be and the last place she planned to stay.
“I had to take life by the horns and make a change,” she says. “I needed to get a career, not just a job. I knew I didn’t want to be working a minimum-wage job. I knew that I was capable of more.”
Green-Lanchoney remained in Vandenberg and decided to just keep applying for jobs at the Air Force base until she got one. Finally, after seven months of rejection, someone gave Green-Lanchoney a chance: She was hired to plan community events and conduct base tours by the public affairs office at Vandenberg Air Force Base.
It wasn't just a paycheck; it was the catalyst for a career.
"The job gave me a lot of confidence to be able to successfully fit into an office," Green-Lanchoney says. But in order to advance in the public affairs office she'd have to enter the training program, which required a bachelor's degree.
So while raising her kids solo and working full time, Green-Lanchoney enrolled in the University of Phoenix. She tucked her kids in at night and then started studying, earning the credits she needed to get her Bachelor's of Science degree in Communications in two years.
The University of Phoenix was the right fit for Green-Lanchoney not just because of its flexible scheduling but because it gave her something she desperately needed: emotional support.
"I loved my academic advisor," says Green-Lanchoney. "She was supportive and understanding and if I ever had a problem, I could call her. She gave me the perspective that I needed. Also, you create bonds with the people that you’re going through the program with, and you support each other."
With her bachelor’s degree completed, Green-Lanchoney was able to complete the training she needed to advance her career in the Air Force, including Defense Information School, which certified her as a public affairs officer for the Department of Defense.
In early 2014, she was promoted to chief of community relations at Hanscom Air Force Base in Massachusetts. Shortly after the promotion, she finished her Master’s of Management degree at the University of Phoenix.
"I received my master’s from the University of Phoenix because I loved the way that they built their classrooms," says Green-Lanchoney. "Having my master’s gives me more options."
Green-Lanchoney remarried three years ago. Her husband, Christopher Lanchoney, is active duty Air Force stationed in Colorado, so their marriage is long distance for now. But Jennifer is no stranger to challenges.
"I wouldn’t want anyone to go through what I went through, but I think you don’t gain perspective unless you have had hard times," she says.
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