Page 9 - Transormations Magazine 11-12

Transformations
7
For Babione, the idea
of going to college was
far beyond her reach
as a new high school
graduate. Most young
adults at that time were
not lucky enough to go to
college unless they were
valedictorians or were
financially able.
When her cousin
mentioned to 18-year-
old Babione that she was
going to join the military
and use her veteran’s
benefits to go to college,
the idea struck Babione
that she could do the
same.
She selected a branch of
the military and was ready
to take the first step in
her journey. Although her
cousin backed out, it did
not deter Babione from
continuing as a young
naval recruit.
Determination earned
her two awards in basic
training: the Honor
Woman and the Military
Award. The Military
Award was a standard
award for service men
and women who had
accumulated enough
points in their training
to merit recognition in
front of the entire squad.
The Honor Woman
award was bestowed upon
a servicewoman in the
squad who was selected
by both her peers and her
superiors.
Because of her motivation
during basic training, she
was assigned to a high
profile administrative
position at a NATO
facility in Virginia. While
serving in this position,
she met the man who
would eventually become
her husband.
Following their marriage,
when the two of them
had fulfilled their military
obligations, they used
their veteran’s benefits
to pursue their separate
vocations. Babione
pursued a teaching career
and her husband pursued
administrative work.
Her husband would take
classes during the day
while she took classes at
night so that one parent
was always at home with
the children. During
this time, it was unusual
for someone to be a
nontraditional student,
but the same motivation
that got her through naval
training got her through
college as well.
The couple graduated in
less time than it would
normally take for their
degrees and celebrated
their accomplishments
by immediately pursuing
employment. However,
during her time as a
teacher, the still youthful
Babione felt incomplete.
The couple decided that
it would work out well
for the two of them if her
husband took a promising
administrative job in
New Mexico and she
could pursue her Ph.D.
Eventually, Babione came
to New Albany, where she
was hired at IU Southeast.
Babione is currently a
professor of education
in the area of elementary
education. She also
continues to work with
the veterans on the IU
Southeast campus.
When asked about her
service to veterans on
campus she said, “My
husband and I were
so fortunate to use
veteran’s benefits [for
our education], that it
feels like we have to give
back.” Because of her own
experience, Dr. Babione
has done as much as she
can for the veterans at
IU Southeast in order to
help them reacclimatize to
civilian life.
Some veterans face
additional challenges
because of PTSD (Post-
Traumatic Stress Disorder)
and other physical and
psychological injuries.
Babione has responded
to these challenges in a
variety of ways.
She helped obtain
financial support for IU
Southeast and Ivy Tech
campuses through the
Lilly Grant’s Operation
Diploma and the Military
Family Research Institute
at Purdue. This support
helped the campuses
prepare educational
programs directed at
student veteran success
and supports faculty and
staff training on student
veteran-related issues.
All her adult life, Dr.
Babione has been devoted
to the betterment
of others. As a naval
petty officer, mother,
elementary teacher, and
college professor, her life
continues to be directed
by service.
My husband and I
were so fortunate to
use veteran’s benefits
[
for our education],
that it feels like we
have to give back.