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“Stay in school, because it will open up many doors for any opportunity that you pursue.”
Like many alumni, Manuel Guzman decided to return to Robert Morris University for a master’s degree. But there is something very strong that motivates him toward higher education: he has committed himself to serving our country.
Following graduation with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, Manuel began working for Rush University Hospital. His new boss was a Lieutenant Commander in the US Naval Reserves, and when he explained what being a reserve entailed, Manuel became interested. He contacted the recruiter and in October of 1996, enlisted in the Navy Reserves.
Manuel was able to begin his Navy career at a higher rank than many others who enlist. He attributes this to his undergraduate education from Robert Morris University, and the commitment of his recruiter. He recalled, “My recruiter went out of his way to get me to all the exams I needed to take. Robert Morris prepared me well for the exams, and that made them much easier for me.” The military exams are used to determine the enlisted rank and job that a person will start at. As a Petty Officer Third Class, he began working in a new position in a business administration division of the Navy. He felt he was very prepared for this job, because of his BBA from RMU.
Currently, Manuel is 16 years into his 20 year commitment to the Navy, and now ranked as a Petty Officer First Class. He currently holds a MBA in Information Technology from Roosevelt University in addition to his BBA from Robert Morris University. He also has been able to perform training exercises in many foreign countries such as Spain, Italy, Peru, and Thailand. Although he enjoyed these experiences, Manuel was most happy that he volunteered for a post on the USNS Comfort, a US Navy hospital ship. His ship was underway for 120 days, stopping in twelve Central and South American nations. Their mission was to provide free health care services to as many people in the region as possible.
At first, Manuel was assigned to the IT department on the ship, but requested a transfer to be a translator. He is completely bilingual in Spanish and quickly began working with US Air Force personnel as a translator. He was able to translate documents and do interpreting for many diplomats in the region. Manuel also spent much of his time translating for doctors and patients. He remembered, “The days were very long. We began at 4:00 am or 5:00 am and did not finish until 6:00 pm, seven days a week.” According to the US Navy, the USNS Comfort provided care to 386,000 people and fully treated an additional 98,000 people.
Manuel is now focused on his future with the Navy. He has recently returned to Robert Morris University for a Master of Management in Health Care Administration and would like to become an officer working in hospital administration. He knows that this additional master’s degree from RMU will help him to achieve this goal. Manuel shared one last piece of advice, “Stay in school, because it will open up many doors for any opportunity that you pursue.”