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Commander adds “Dr.” to title

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- After six years of dedication, Lt. Col. Katrina Terry, 30th Space Communications Squadron commander, has received her doctorate in higher education with a concentration in higher educational leadership from Trident University International in Cypress.

Only about 3% of Americans have a Ph.D., which requires a rigorous program of study and research, culminating in an original piece of literature to contribute to the field.

"To me, I'm still the same old Lt. Col. Terry," said Terry. "I just don't have the dark cloud of an unfinished Ph.D. hanging over my head. I have my official completion letter, but I don't think it will be real to me until I actually receive the diploma and am hooded at my commencement ceremony."

Prior to entering the service, Terry was an academic counselor at a college for five years and taught in an adjunct capacity. Completing the doctorate would allow her to reenter the university administrative system as a post-retirement career, but it also applies to her career in the Air Force.

"The degree is leadership based and that is what the Air Force has hired me to do - lead a group of individuals as we support and defend the constitution of the United States," said Terry. "Completing the degree helped me enhance my toolbox so I can successfully do so."

Terry's dissertation was a comparison study of the job satisfaction of Cyberspace Defense and Cyberspace Control Air Force Company Grade Officers.

Terry has a bachelor's in mathematics with a minor in statistics and computer science from Concord University in Athens, W. VA. She also has two master's degrees; one in engineering management from George Washington University in the District of Columbia and another in cyber warfare from the Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.

"I'm a firm believer in the Albert Einstein quote, 'Once you stop learning, you start dying,'" explained Terry. "Learning keeps our mind sharp and I'm not getting any younger!"
Terry balanced her work, home, and social life to complete the Ph.D., completing one class each term until she met all of the course requirements and worked on her dissertation when time would allow.

"It was tough, but I had to find ways to get it done," said Terry. "I never lost sight of my primary obligation to ensure I did the best job possible and met my boss's priorities. That's one of the reasons it took quite some time."

Support from Terry's family, both at home and the office, helped the process.

"My family was extremely supportive and offered me encouragement every step of the way," said Terry. "I truly couldn't have done without that because it would have been so easy to just not finish."

Terry has some advice for those looking to pursue higher education while working.

"Maintain the balance and never lose focus of your priorities."