Image of MobraFor many, graduate study holds the promise of a better life and more secure financial future for the student and their family. Veterans share this interest in financial security when charting a career path after their military service ends. Tyler Mobra, a doctoral candidate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Oklahoma – Tulsa, is one such student veteran. After serving as a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army and being deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, Mobra was awarded a Purple Heart and Bronze Star for heroic or meritorious service.

Returning home was difficult for Mobra. His valiant military career was over, and he was beginning to feel the financial squeeze of raising two children on a medical retirement pension. Though his children were young, he realized that they couldn’t “sleep on bunk beds forever,” and that providing for them the lives he wanted would require a new career. In these challenging times, support came in two forms. Operation Homefront helped Mobra acquire a mortgage-free home through their Homes on the Homefront program. This new home helped ease the immediate financial strain on Mobra and his family. Without this support, the Mobras would “be living paycheck to paycheck” without any hope of saving for the future.

If Homes for the Homefront helped alleviate Mobra’s immediate financial squeeze, the University of Oklahoma – Tulsa provided him a path to a financially stable and fulfilling career. Mobra has been working towards his doctorate since 2010 with the hopes of becoming a university professor. In acquiring his doctorate, he has already completed certification to teach grades K-12 in Oklahoma. His research focuses on how Oklahoma has responded to widespread teacher shortages in the state.

With his financial insecurity behind him and a promising career ahead of him, Mobra will be able to impart some of the heroism and life lessons he learned during his military service to the next generation of students. His story is a reminder of the role university communities can play in supporting American veterans and their families, as well as the ways graduate education can help students achieve financial security.

Image Credit: The University of Oklahoma – Tulsa