Lifelong love of education and service to others drives UMGC's VP of Veterans Programs

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Photo credit Courtesy photo
By Connecting Vets

University of Maryland Global Campus Assistant Vice President of Veterans Programs Dr. Nicole DeRamus-Suazo knows exactly who to credit for instilling in her a lifelong love of and passion for education.

Her grandparents.

"Pursuing and receiving my doctorate was, I really feel, the culmination of my mother’s and grandparents’ prayers,” she said.

DeRamus-Suazo was raised by her grandparents until she was 12. Her grandfather was born in 1907 and her grandmother was born in 1916.

“I was raised by them in the country,” she said. “My grandfather never went past 6th grade. My grandmother never went past 10th grade.”

She said her grandparents believed in the value of education and instilled that in their children and grandchildren.

“They believed that education was the great equalizer,” DeRamus-Suazo said. “It could provide you with equality and freedom and entrance into a realm of living they could only dream of.” 

The Alabama native served in the Navy for 27 years, primarily in the human resources field. She came into the service on a Navy and Marine Corps ROTC scholarship out of high school.

“I wanted to go Navy option, but the Marine officer recruiter got to me first,” she said with a laugh. 

It took her two years while attending undergraduate school at Auburn University to make the switch from the Marine option to the Navy option.

“I have such admiration and respect for the Marines because of those two years,” she said.

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She received her doctorate in education in 2012 -- a six-year journey during which she served at three duty stations. 

“It was all by the grace and favor of God,” she said. “I was also a single parent raising my son.”

DeRamus-Suazo said her military service impacts her daily work at UMGC.

“For me as a veteran working at UMGC, I go back to my roots, which was service to nation, service to others and an intrinsic desire for my existence to mean more than just my circumstances,” she said.

Reach Julia LeDoux at Julia@connectingvets.com.
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