Month: May 2014

Ashley Gleiman – Military Spouse Appreciation Day

Ashley Gleiman

Ashley Gleiman is an Adult Education Program Coordinator at Kansas State.  She’s a military spouse, a mother of two beautiful children and a lifelong learner.  Over the last fourteen years Ashley supported her active duty soldier through deployments, commands, and everything in between. During that time she moved seven times, changed jobs seven times, had two beautiful kids, survived nine deployments, took twelve years to get her bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees, and made countless friends all over the world. According to Ashley, “I live an amazing life and I am incredibly grateful for it.”

Q:  Can you tell me a little about your life and work at Kansas State?

AG: Over the last four years I’ve worked with Kansas State University in several different roles. For an extended period of time I was the Adult Education Graduate Program Coordinator, where I recruited and advised military students and their families. Over the last four years I’ve also provided support and was part of an interdisciplinary team of academics who developed and implemented the Command Team Spouse Development Program – Brigade level for the U.S. Army, which is a pre-command and self-awareness/leadership course for spouses of senior military leaders going into brigade command environments. Currently I am transitioning out of this role and will assume a position as an Editorial Assistant with Adult Education Quarterly, which an international academic journal in the field of adult education.

Q: What made you interested in military spouses? What insight do you have to share that others might not know about the world of military spouses?

AG: My first experience as a young military spouse over fourteen years ago was not pleasant. In fact, I still remember walking into the unit for the first time and feeling like I had stepped onto another planet all together. The military can be really intimidating, especially for a new spouse at any age. For me, I was young, inexperienced, and suddenly thrust into a world where I was expected to have it all figured out. This, along with a great deal of uncertainty and lack of self-awareness led to several bad experiences and a reaction to withdraw from any active role in the unit. For a long period of time I felt resentment towards the military and found it easier to blame “them” for my problems. However, maturity, education, and good experiences eventually began to replace the bad ones and I came to realize that being a military spouse was a blessing. Over time you learn that you hold more in common with others than you think in this lifestyle, which leads to lifelong friendships and culturally rich experiences one otherwise wouldn’t have. Essentially, I came to realize that military spouses are the “rocks” in our families and the backbone of our military communities. It’s not easy, but the positives can often far outweigh the negatives.

Q: Congratulations on your doctorate! Can you tell me what the process of earning a doctorate while mothering two kids was like?

AG: It was definitely a challenge! Working and raising kids while also being in a doctoral program was incredibly exhausting. The key was that I enjoyed the subject and found amazing support. I am fortunate to have an amazing husband, who is also one of the most brilliant individuals I’ve ever met. To make things interesting, he also decided to pursue his doctoral degree at the same time. I guess we challenge each other in that way, which is great. His support and our shared love of education brought us closer in a way I did not expect. I also found amazing support in the friendships I made with my fellow doctoral students and the many military families I have as neighbors in our community.

Q: What are some of your greatest accomplishments?

AG: Aside from having my beautiful children, my greatest personal accomplishment was completing my dissertation, which focused on spousal education in the military and in particular the Command Team Spouse Development Program that I was part of. I found a topic that was important to me both as a spouse and an academic and it provided me an opportunity to give back to the many military spouses I’ve come to know. It’s a very BIG deal in my life that I am the first in my family to graduate with a doctoral degree.

Q: Where do you find balance?  What brings you joy?

AG: I find balance in spending time with my family, walking my beautiful Border Collie, and laughing with friends. I find joy when I see my children’s faces as they learn something new for the first time or when they laugh so hard at one of my husband’s corny jokes that milk shoots out their noses. My mantra in life is that I’ve always wanted to work to live, not live to work. While I value my career and love what I do, moments with my family are everything to me.

Q:  What question did I miss?  What else should I know about you?

AG: Naturally, I am a huge introvert. So, I often need a lot of time by myself to decompress and relax. I’ve learned over time to be extroverted and to be social, but if given the choice I will always choose to stay in my pajamas and read a book over going out. The problem with this is that both my husband and my children are completely the opposite! Something that took me a long time to learn about myself and I now pass along to others as advice is to take care of yourself first. If you are not balance, nourished, rested, and happy then you cannot take care of your family or anyone else. As women, mothers, sisters, daughters, wives, and caregivers this can be incredibly difficult to do!

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Tawnya Horton

Tawnya Horton

Tawnya Horton is an officer in the U.S. Military stationed overseas.  She has spent significant portions of the last two decades stationed in Asia and Europe as part of the U.S. Army Signal Corps. She has held jobs ranging from the tactical infantry (Stryker brigade), to the operational satellite communications, up to joint strategic level. She currently works with foreign partners in Europe to develop and maintain communications interoperability – while balancing life as a military spouse. Besides being an incredible woman, she is also my cousin.

Q: Tell me about moving around and the work you do with the military.  What are some of your favorite places?  Where do you feel most at home?

TH: Moving around is a skill I’ve honed over the last 14 years I’ve been with the military.  I have also discovered it’s a marketable skill, as one of my graduate professors stated, “90% of ex-pats sent overseas can’t hack it, and resign their job to move home.”

You give up a lot of the luxuries in life i.e. remaining in the same area for a long period of time and seeing your family on holidays. When you’re stationed in different parts of the world you learn to accept what is around you and appreciate what is available in different cultures. As with anything in life there are no absolutes so every place has its advantages and disadvantages.  I wouldn’t trade this military life for anything!

Q: How do you make time for yourself?  What gives you balance?

TH: Yoga of course.  I love that my husband, Sean, has demanded we go to hot yoga three times a week.  It makes it easier to make it when we’re both committed to blocking that time out.

Q: What is something that the world should know?  Maybe the best piece of advice that you ever received or the message you have for others.

TH: I feel like it’s not my place to tell people what they should know.  However, one of the principles I live by is best summed up by Brother David Steindl-Rast, a Benedictine monk, in his TED talk: https://www.ted.com/speakers/br_david_steindl_rast

“If you are grateful, you are enjoying the differences between people, and you are respectful to everybody, and that changes this power pyramid under which we live.” It has proven to be an immensely successful credo, even in the military.  I don’t just treat my peers and subordinates with respect; it’s amazing how my leaders appreciate being treated as a normal person too!

Q:  Who is your role model and why?

TH: I have two – my Mom and Colonel Steve Elle.  My mom is because she taught me to fight for women in the work place.  COL Elle because he has shown me how to be a good leader and a mentor.  I hope I can do the same for others in the future.

Q:  What is it like being in the military?

TH: I LOVE my job; I work with the Finnish, Swedish and Austrian Defence forces, and other NATO nations, who want to be interoperable with the U.S.  Meaning their radios, on the ground, in the air, or at sea, can communicate with those of the U.S. and U.S. coalitions.  The enjoyable part is actually being able to make a tangible difference in enabling our coalition partners the ability to fight along side of us.  It’s a pretty big deal knowing when they fire a rocket or fly an airplane along side of us – they are able to have situational awareness of all the other troops (US or otherwise) on the ground and contributed to the coalition team.

I think in the large scheme of things I provide a service to this country as anyone else does. I have signed up to defend our nation and have been honoring that commitment since. At some point I will transition back to what people call “the normal life” and continue to support our nation through other means.

Tanya Foster

Tanya Foster

Tanya Foster is the Evening Anchor for CBS 21 News.  She moved to Central PA in January of 2008 by way of Texas.

She received her Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast Journalism from Texas State University in San Marcos.  While at CBS 21, Tanya was honored with Emmy Awards for Outstanding Human Interest News Feature for her report “Images of Bravery” and Outstanding Newscast Evening Anchor. She also received 1st Place from the Pennsylvania AP Broadcasters Association for “Images of Bravery”.  Prior to CBS 21, Tanya worked at the ABC affiliate in Waco, Texas and the CBS affiliate in Wichita Falls, Texas.

Tanya is active in the community.  She has worked with the Center for Independent Living in Central PA as their spokesperson.  She is also very active in raising awareness of animal abuse and neglect. She has done extensive work with animal shelters in Texas and currently partners with Central PA rescues and shelters to highlight their efforts through news stories.

Tanya is an 8th generation Texan and along with her husband Ben and four rescue dogs Dixie, Daisy, Dora and Sammy, they enjoy traveling in their RV, spending time with their Texas-sized family and their church – Bible Baptist Church of York.    Tanya is an avid Christian, reader, writer, sewer and BBQ eater!

Q: Have you always known you would be a news anchor?  What brought you to this career path?

TF: I did. When I was a little girl my family would watch the 6 o’clock news after dinner each night. I remember thinking it was the most amazing job. Years later in high school, as part of a junior class project, we had to reach out to a person doing the job we wanted to have. I sent a letter (yes, this was before email!) to Bill Balleza, the main anchor at KPRC in Houston.  He promptly responded and invited me to the station for a visit.  Fast forward to now, we remain good friends. He mentored me every step of the way. I owe my career to him.

Q: You are fluent in sign language.  How has this skill changed the way you listen and interact with others?  What do people need to know about the deaf community?

TF: I’m not nearly as fluent as I’d like to be, although I can get by.  I started learning American Sign Language in preschool. My mother was diagnosed with an inner ear disease and her prognosis was eventual complete hearing loss. Over the years I’ve learned quite a bit about acceptance. I’ve seen the hardships my mom has faced, specifically with people who aren’t “tolerant” of her inability to hear. Because of her experiences, I make it a point to understand who the person is when interacting with someone; put myself in their shoes, so to speak.

It’s easy to get accustomed to life as we see it through our own eyes, but what a sight to see when you step into someone else’s shoes! It brings the level of understanding and communication to a whole new level!

Q: I saw that you have been involved with the Center for Independent Living, Junior Achievement.  What message do you have for people finding their way in their lives and in the world?

TF: I’ve met the most amazing people through the Center for Independent Living of Central PA (CILCP). The message I’ve learned from them? Anything is possible. Never give up. When someone says you can’t, you better believe you can!

Q: What is your favorite book – or if that’s too tough, a list of two or three that are indispensable to you?

TF: This is a tough one!  I’d have to say, my favorite book is The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. I had the pleasure of meeting her years after reading her novel and her persona is just as charismatic as her writing.  A close second and third would be I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb and Dark Places by Gillian Flynn respectively.  I’m a self-admitted book geek!

Q: As an owner of three dogs and a volunteer with animal shelters, what do animals have to teach us about life?

TF: Oh my goodness, where do I begin?! I’ve seen some horrific cases of animal abuse both in my personal life and career and it never ceases to amaze me how incredibly resilient dogs are. Their love known no limits, their forgiveness is eye-opening and their ability to find happiness in any situation is contagious. My favorite quote that sums it up: “I wish I could be the person my dog thinks I am.”