By Lilia Ortiz
Joseph Nash is what one would call “a giver.” He served his country for 11 years as a sonar technician in the Navy — one of the most demanding jobs in the world — and is currently serving others as the chapter president of University of Phoenix’s (UOPX) DC/Maryland/Virginia (DMV) Alumni Association Chapter.
Nash’s time in the military is an incredible sacrifice worthy of recognition and demonstrates his desire to make a difference in the lives of others. The two-time UOPX graduate continues his pursuit of serving others as a civilian. Nash helps students and alumni reach the same level of success he’s achieved, both academically and professionally.
His reason? Nash confides, “I love including those close to me in my victories.”
Nash joined the DMV Alumni Association after graduating from UOPX as a way "to give back that which was given to me."
The association hosts networking events and acts as an online resource to help UOPX alumni stay connected.
As part of his work with the chapter, Nash helps UOPX students and alumni navigate the challenges of attending college and beyond through mentorship, career counseling and networking services. The organization calls on faculty and other chapters when they need additional resources. According to Nash, "Everyone we call lends a hand."
When asked about the mission of the chapter’s leadership council, Nash says, "Our goal is simple: We want to positively impact all UOPX students and alumni. Be that by word or action."
In Nash's words: "No one can be 100% dialed in every minute of every day, so to have a support system in place is essential." He adds, "Knowing that I can be part of someone else’s support system drives me to reach out to those who need my help. If I’m in a position to positively affect someone, I try my best to give as much as I can."
It’s fair to say that Nash has done just that. However, he says one particular experience stands out the most.
He recalls meeting an alum interested in a human resources career who needed networking assistance but didn’t know where to begin. Nash set things in motion by reaching out to those he knew could help. Ultimately, he connected the alum with the DMV faculty sponsor in the area. Thanks to Nash, the alum was able to meet the right people to get started in the HR industry.
We asked Nash, who recently took on a new position as a program management specialist at Serco, about his commitment to serving others after graduating. As well as how he’s overcome the challenges of transitioning from military to civilian life.
My experience at UOPX was as humbling as it was educational. I initially thought that I would be able to complete my degree alone. However, I quickly realized that higher education requires a team. It also required sacrifice from my wife, family and friends.
I was a sonar technician aboard submarines, which prepared me for my UOPX journey. My military training taught me to have the mental fortitude and resolve to complete my assignments, papers and tests, even when I wanted to do other things.
Did you overcome any obstacles while transitioning back to civilian life?
As with any change, there are many times when life throws curveballs. I transitioned from military to civilian life in 2005, well before deciding to return to school. I also remarried that year. Though that technically wasn't an “obstacle,” it presented its own challenges. Fun fact: I'm still married, so I think I chose wisely!
Never forgetting that others committed to me when I was an undergraduate and graduate student. For example, my academic advisor, Michelle Hart, pushed me, believed in me and helped me plan my success. She was invaluable and was always there for me. We developed quite a bond, and I am ever grateful for her. Not bad for someone whom I’ve never met in person. That speaks to the trust that I have in her.
I've committed to being my personal best in any endeavor that I undertake. I also strive to be a good example for my children, especially my son, to emulate.
I don’t regret breaking my commitment to be everything to everyone. Instead, I realized that sometimes you need to step back to avoid doing something that’s detrimental to yourself for the sake of serving others. I’ve learned that when it comes to my own mental health and well-being, “no” is a complete sentence. I protect my peace at all costs.
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