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CHASS Student of the Month – March 2011

Michaela Johnson

Photo of Michaela Johnson

  • Home Town: San Jose, California
  • Class: Senior
  • Major(s):
    • International Studies
  • Sample Courses:
    • Peace & War in the Nuclear Age
    • Modern Middle East
    • Special Topics in Plant Pathology: Galapagos
  • Activities:
    • International Ambassador with NCSU’s Office of International Affairs
    • Study Abroad in France, Spring 2010
    • US Air Force, Airborne Cryptologic Linguist, Jan. 04-Jan. 08
    • Defense Language Institute (Monterey, CA), Mar. 04-Mar. 05: Associate of Arts in Korean
  • Honors:
    • Dean’s List, Fall 09-Fall 10
  • Postgraduate Plans: Living Arts College (Raleigh, NC) for digital photography. Perhaps graduate school after that in International Studies
  • Career Goals: Work in the international arena.

You have a unique story. Tell us about yourself.

I transferred to NC State in Fall 2009 after completing four years in the Air Force as an airborne cryptologic linguist. I graduated from the Defense Language Institute as a Korean linguist in 2005 (an intense 63 week course), and after another year and half of training, became a permanent member of the RC-135 (Rivet Joint) flight crew at Offutt AFB, Nebraska. I was deployed to Al Udeid Air base, Qatar in August of 2007 and earned an air medal for flying over 350 hours of combat missions in the Afghan skies. I briefed my commanders prior to each mission (every 3rd day). I also gave a detailed brief to the Lt Gen. in charge of all air activity in Afghanistan during an in-flight mission. He sat next to me, and I was able to show him how we helped the guys on the ground from the air.

Though my time at NC State has been short, I have completed all the classes necessary for the Global Perspectives Certificate and have been on a study abroad trip to Paris. I have also volunteered with Raleigh Parks & Rec’s ESL department.

I am somewhat of a nontraditional student. I am a bit older, and I commute from Pittsboro. But I feel I have really taken advantage of what NC State has to offer. I have enjoyed the readings and discussions in my courses, and believe my coursework has given me a broad understanding of current issues.

I would encourage incoming students to challenge themselves to take courses in areas they might not initially think they were interested. Keep an open mind!

Nominate a student for CHASS Student of the Month.