Casey Bogomolov graduated from high school at the top of her class. While she had the grades to go to college right after high school, she didn’t have the money.
So, she enlisted in the U.S. Maries Corps as a way to serve her country and fund her college ambitions.
“I’ve always had a desire to serve, so joining the military just made sense,” she said.
Bogomolov was on active duty for four years as a combat engineer. By the time her post ended in 2016, she had attained the rank of sergeant.
“Although serving in the Marine Corps was tough, the experience was invaluable,” she said. “Not only did it enable me to receive college funding through the GI Bill, but my time in the military helped me discover my passion for working in critical care.”
After her service ended, Bogomolov took some time to ease into civilian life. She married, moved to Pacific, Mo., and found a job. The next year, she enrolled at St. Louis Community College-Wildwood.
“I was nervous to return to the classroom after active duty,” she said. “I didn’t know what to expect, so I decided to start slow and take a few college classes.”
Within weeks, she found her rhythm and gained the confidence she needed to excel. Along with balancing her coursework and a job, she got involved in campus life.
Stephanie Church, coordinator for campus life and college transition, helped connect her with campus clubs and organizations. Within one year, Bogomolov was active in the Volunteers of Wildwood Club, inducted into Phi Theta Kappa’s Beta Rho Epsilon Chapter, the international honor society for two-year colleges, and was serving as the president of Wildwood’s Student Government Association.
“When I met Casey on campus, I could tell she was a bright young woman with the capacity to lead,” Church said. “Her professionalism, positive attitude and willingness to serve has been a huge asset to our campus clubs and community. We truly value her leadership and know she is destined to achieve great things. We will be cheering her on as she transitions to her four-year university.”
While this fall was her third and final semester at STLCC, Bogomolov completed her studies with a 4.0 grade-point average. In January, she will transfer to Missouri Baptist University to pursue a degree in nursing.
“STLCC has been the perfect landing spot for me to complete my general education coursework,” she said. “Not only was the atmosphere at Wildwood inviting, but the college provided me with the support I needed to pursue my education and expand my leadership skills.”
Bogomolov offers this advice to others.
“If a college degree is what you want, work hard, go to class, get involved and pay attention,” she said. “The future is yours for the taking. Don’t let anything stand in the way of achieving your dreams.”