Class of 2019 Success Stories: Active-duty airman completes BGSU online bachelor program

Ian Aspen travels to Bowling Green from Italy to attend commencement

Alex Sciranka '19

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For most Bowling Green State University graduates, the journey between final semester wrap-up and commencement is a relatively short one. A week of finals, end of semester projects and presentations fill the campus with new scholarship and, undoubtedly, a little bit of stress.

But for some students, the journey is just a bit longer.

Ian Aspen is an active-duty technical sergeant serving in the U.S. Air Force as a weapons specialist. He serves as a non-commissioned officer in charge of maintenance operations.

This month, he will travel from his deployed station at the Ghedi Air Base in Italy to receive his diploma at the Stroh Center.

Because of his active deployment, Aspen utilized the University's eCampus to earn his Bachelor of Science in Quality Systems Technology completely online.

"The eCampus program has surpassed all expectations," Aspen said. "BGSU is the third university I have attended through online learning, and it has been the easiest transition thus far."

A native of Boise, Idaho, Aspen was drawn to BGSU because of the University's strong commitment to Military and Veteran services. Aspen said the Air University (AU-ABC) program was a major factor that contributed to his interest in BGSU.

The program allows BGSU and the Air Force to work together to offer airmen an opportunity to excel. The AU-ABC program is an accelerated associate to baccalaureate cooperative that works to transfer military earned credits into BGSU program credits.

There is no doubting the level of commitment Aspen has taken to ensure his success, not to mention the maintenance of his 4.0 GPA. But Aspen is quick to mention that while the quality of programs drew him to BGSU, it was the dedication of his advisers and professors that got him to stay.

"Dr. Christopher Kluse has been a tremendous help throughout the entire process and a wonderful professor to have," Aspen said. Kluse is an assistant professor in the the College of Technology, Architecture and Applied Engineering.

"My adviser, Lori Schultz, has had the most impact on my time at BGSU. While attending, I applied, and recently learned I was accepted, to the Air Force Officer Training School. Without her help in reviewing my application, it would have never been possible." Schultz serves as Assistant Director of Advising for Co-Op Education.

While Aspen is sure to give credit where it is due, his own dedication cannot be ignored.

"There's a lot of sacrifice when you put yourself in the situation that I have," he said. "I decided to take a full course load over the last two semesters and my social life and sleep have definitely taken a hit. But it's all possible with the right mindset."

Aspen also said his family "has been the best support system" throughout his journey.

"My wife is there to make sure I'm fed and that I take time to step away from the computer," he joked.

After graduation, Aspen will attend Officer Training School in 2020. From there, Aspen will be commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Air Force.

Aspen's journey has been one of hard work and dedication, but he continues to attribute his ability to "go far" to the university that impacted his life so profoundly.

"Without my degree from BGSU, I never could have taken these opportunities," he said. "BGSU is truly the reason my goal was accomplished."