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Army Veteran Found Her Path At Howard Community College

Military Cording Ceremony at HCC 2019.

Elizabeth Armstrong left her life as an Army linguist after 11 years of service and enrolled at Howard Community College (HCC), prepared to study cybersecurity.

After a semester of learning whole new sets of acronyms and useful information for protecting her internet connection, she realized her heart was not in that area of study.

“I missed my passion for linguistics, and I missed mentoring others,” she said. “So I have decided to combine the two on a path to teaching English as a foreign language.”

This spring, Elizabeth will graduate from HCC with an associate degree in English. She was one of the veteran and active duty students who participated in a recent Cording Ceremony at the college, which coincided with Military Appreciation Month. A total of 19 veterans will graduate from the college this semester. Each will wear red, white, and blue graduation cords in recognition of their service.

Elizabeth, who was the student speaker at the event, told attendees something “clicked” into place when she found her path at HCC.

“I just knew I was doing what is right for me,” she said. “I hope you have all experienced that moment of clarity. But if you haven’t yet, don’t worry! By receiving a degree from Howard Community College, you have been equipped with a powerful tool to build your road ahead, whatever it may turn out to be.”

Elizabeth plans to transfer to University of Maryland, College Park in the fall to study English, Spanish, and Chinese. Her goal is to teach English as a foreign language and work with immigrant populations.

She left her fellow graduates with the following advice.

“Never stop challenging yourselves, never stop striving to do good, and to be good. You have a history of excellence behind you, a valuable achievement before you today, and I have no doubt your futures will be filled with success as well.”

HCC is proud to have nearly 500 student members in the college’s military community. These men and women represent all branches of the armed services, and they come from Maryland, as well as all over the United States. In addition to our students, many of HCC’s faculty and staff members are also veterans who have served around the world. For more information on Veterans and Military Services at HCC, visit

Topics: Success Stories
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