By Jeff Willadsen, Global Campus Senior Writer
When those who have served their country in the military decide to leave active duty for civilian life, many choose to start their new journey by using their hard-earned educational benefits and getting their degree. In fact, the opportunity for educational enrichment is often a huge factor in why many veterans decided to join the military in the first place.
Both of these statements are true for Ruben Archambault, an Army veteran currently earning his bachelor’s degree in social sciences — fully online from Washington State University Global Campus.
“I joined the military to further my education,” said Archambault. “The Army provided me the opportunity to earn my degree, so I’m doing just that. It’s been a great journey, but not without its challenges.”
Originally from Los Angeles, Archambault also cited his family as a chief motivation for his service.
“I was the first in my family to join the military,” he said. “I wanted to be a role model for my nieces and nephews.”
In 2014, Archambault entered the Army. The Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) he chose was wheeled vehicle mechanic, a position responsible for inspecting, repairing, and rebuilding military wheeled vehicle systems.
After four years in the Army, Archambault felt ready for a new adventure. In 2018, he made up his mind to leave active duty in pursuit of his education and a career in law enforcement.
“I was able to finish my associate degree while I was still on active duty.” he said. “Next, I set my sights on a BA degree.”
Archambault knew he would have to work to support his family while earning his degree, which would require the most flexible degree program possible.
“At first, I was undecided on what college I would get my degree at,” he said. “But with some research and talking to alumni from WSU, I chose WSU Global Campus. I knew it would give me the flexibility to continue my career while giving me time for family obligations.”
Today, Archambault works as an officer for U.S. Customs and Border Protection at Los Angeles International Airport while working to finish his social sciences degree.
“It requires a lot of time management to work, earn my degree, and have a family—and it can be challenging,” he said. “In the end, it’s worth the effort to pursue my passion and improve myself,” said Archambault.
Archambault says he chose to pursue a degree in social sciences because of his desire to help others.
“I want to be there for others when they need help and guidance—to help people who feel lost and alone and need someone to speak to,” he said. “I felt like a degree in social sciences gave me the flexibility to pursue that passion with the classes I could choose to take.”
One way his passion manifests in his daily life is by serving fellow veterans.
“I help other veterans at work with certain topics and information to help them with the benefits, résumé writing, and military buyback,” he said. “These programs and skills have been very impactful for me, and I want to pass that on.”
Despite his full schedule, Archambault also has a part time job helping improve programs for veterans.
“I also work as a Veterans Initiative Team Support Member for a company called Government CIO,” he said. “We as members help test new programs before they are released to veterans through the Veterans Administration.”
Archambault also plans to virtually attend WSU’s Veterans and Military-Affiliated Student Symposium in Pullman on Nov. 10, a forum meant to bring awareness to and improve opportunities for military-affiliated Cougs.
According to Archambault, his experience as a student veteran at Global Campus has been life-changing, and he recommends that other military-affiliated students look into earning their degree fully online with WSU.
“I would recommend to my fellow veterans, reservists, and active duty that if they want to continue their education with flexibility and excellent support for veterans, then WSU Global Campus is it,” he said. “Even though I have other options for online schools, no other online campus can offer me the support that Global Campus has.”
Archambault also wanted to pass on a message of encouragement for other veterans looking to enrich themselves by finishing their education.
“My message for fellow veterans and current students is this: even when things get hard and there is so much to do, you have the power to be resilient and get it done. Don’t stop, don’t quit, and the accomplishments at the end will be all the more rewarding.”