Lessons learned in the military have aided Moore’s transition to civilian life.
Locating veterans who are willing to be interviewed is a lot more challenging than I had originally hoped for. We initially were committed to finding them within our industry. However, it has proven to be exceedingly difficult. That said, this month’s subject was a real surprise to me, and I am so grateful.
My alma mater, Seton Hall University, located in South Orange, New Jersey, has a magazine for the alumni. In a recent issue, we found the perfect person to interview, Julius Moore.
Moore is a Doctoral student who is also a retired Army sergeant first class, a former Army drill sergeant, and squad leader showing veterans an amazingly effective way to transition into a civilian career through education. He is also the assistant director of the Martin Luther King Scholarship Association at Seton Hall University.
Moore has an unusual background which separates him from most veterans. His mother and father are career Navy, having served 22 and 20 years, respectively, on active duty. As such Moore has seen much of the world growing up, as his parents were transferred from duty station to duty station. In that period, he lived on three continents.
His story has more interesting twists than you could imagine. We always like to know what the motivation was for joining the military. Moore admits it was not out of an act of patriotism but rather to take care of his family, something he learned from his father.
In 1995, he joined the Army infantry rather than the Navy to serve our country. No two services can be further apart. Moore quickly admits he was neither ready nor prepared to enter college when he completed his high school education.
Growing up a part of a military family, it is usually required for these families to move every two to four years. That is how often duty stations are changed. In Moore’s case, he attended 15 different schools before he completed high school.
His Army career encompassed four deployments, and that says a great deal. As part of the infantry, soldiers lead any action their unit is involved in. Toward the end of his time in the military, he could be a military science instructor for college students who volunteer for the ROTC (Reserved Officers’ Training Corps). In ROTC, enrollees complete two or four years in college, paid by the ROTC program, and summer training. When these enrollees graduate, they receive a commission in the Army.
Moore, initially, was concerned about teaching college students. It turned out he was better prepared than he thought. His students were the ones who encouraged him to go for his Ph.D. He had an associate degree from the University of Louisville completed in 2016–2017. After joining Seton Hall, he began studying for his bachelor’s degree and then his master’s.
What’s impressive is that Moore did all this while teaching and raising a family of six children with his wife. He freely admits that he was scared he could not cut it. One of the things he has learned is to ask for help if you are having problems learning a particular course of study.
His mentor was Rev. Father Forest M. Pritchett, senior adviser to the provost for diversity, equity, and inclusion at Seton Hall. He helped Moore make the right decisions and maintain the strongest possible commitment to education and his job.
To be conferred with a doctorate, Moore had to deliver a dissertation. A committee assists the doctoral candidate, as it is an exceedingly difficult task requiring many hours of research and pages of writing. If all goes as planned, Moore will be conferred with his Ph.D. in 2024.
Moore’s dissertation focuses on veteran-student persistence, and I look forward to learning more about it. As an active graduate of Seton Hall, I visit the campus at least two or three times a year. A dissertation is a challenging task, but I believe it should be no challenge for this man.
Due to his performance in teaching military science, Seton Hall created a full-time position for him because they have seen how good a job he can do teaching young students and veterans alike.
Another pivotal person who encouraged Moore was Hillary Morgan, program director for higher education in Seton Hall’s Department of Education. In the article, both Pritchett and Morgan are quoted as saying, “He’s made a quantum leap in academia, and now he is sharing that experience and making a difference with young veteran scholars.”
One other thing that we can share is how’s Moore’s training as a drill instructor helped him make the transition to education. As a drill instructor, he would work with young recruits to train them to respond to military protocol and training.
In all the military services, it is the same. A lawful order is an order and not subject to debate. In a combat situation, soldiers cannot be free thinkers, and if they are, they will either get themselves or their fellow warriors killed. Acting within a unit teaches responsibility for following orders and always being mindful to have the backs of fellow warriors.
In earning an associate degree, Moore authored a paper on higher education and military science. Three years later, Seton Hall hired him as a subject-matter expert in higher education, which evolved into a full-time position.
Moore believes he should give his students what he was lacking when he was being educated. He asks students to adopt a philosophy that starts with thinking, “I will, I can, I am.” The message is simple in that he wanted to encourage them to change their attitude, which can change their lives. He teaches positivity in thinking and speaking. That is done simply by responding to difficult tasks and challenges from a place of “I cannot do it” by always saying, “It is too easy,” no matter how daunting the task is.
Moore works closely with the students who are members of the Martin Luther King Society. This is just one more commitment he is making to the students he comes in contact with at Seton Hall.
Moore is a man who deeply appreciates the opportunities he has been given to help others. Education is a wonderful profession, but it is notoriously (in my opinion) an underpaid one. That is primarily why we have such profound respect for teachers. They are not in for the buck. With a family of six children, we know he can’t have much free time to meet all the responsibilities he has. Yet, after listening to him tell his story, we have every belief that he will succeed.