As a June 2015 graduate of Enrico Fermi High School in Enfield, Joshua Hill was looking into colleges for the Fall. One thing became very clear for him when he realized that his best option was within walking distance of his house.
“The cost-effective methods that Asnuntuck Community College (ACC) offers such as FAFSA, Pell grants, scholarships, and certification courses, to name a few, were appealing because it was a way to get my foot in the door with most hands-on jobs.”
As important as the affordability was, for Joshua the ability to be an active member of the campus community was equally valuable. “I recall having attended multiple Open Forums with the Student Leadership committee where we would discuss ways to make the school community more inclusive than that of your typical college.” He acknowledged that there were people on campus who helped him gain valuable skills and enhance his leadership confidence. “What helped make my experience at ACC a successful one was the people. For example, I recall having had help personally and academically at every turn; even when I didn’t go looking for it.” He added, “One person that comes to mind was Sherry Paquette, Asnuntuck’s director of student activities, who always had my back when trying to implement ideas for the student body experience. He explained, “While a Senator under the Student Government Association, Sherry encouraged me to participate in dynamic ACC activities like creating PSA announcements on the 107.7FM WACC radio station. There were many days where I’d stay after school to work with students on their clubs.” He reflected on how he and other students were exposed to various opportunities they could volunteer with or participate in. He explained, “We advertised for activities which included holiday trips to NYC and Boston, the non-profit food pantry, game clubs, volunteer work, suicide prevention, State seminars, and everything in-between. There was never a shortage of things to do!”
Joshua said it was important for him to keep his eyes on the prize of completing his education. “After much exposure, I needed to find a balance between helping others and helping myself to reach the goal of graduating.” He shared what services at Asnuntuck helped him. “This was done through the Skills Center which serves as a tool to assist students in areas of academic difficulties. I can admit that if it were not for the professional guidance of the instructors, some of whom volunteered, I would not be as successful today.”
In 2018 Joshua earned his Associates in Science degree in General Studies, with certifications in Business Administration, Marketing, and Entrepreneurship.
“In my ten years of experience working in different sectors ranging from retail, customer service, sales, entertainment, warehousing, and now the United States Air Force, I can say wholeheartedly that an A.S. has more than helped in ways that some higher degrees might not have been able to,” he said. Joshua said that every job he has had has been made better by the experiences he had at Asnuntuck. “Some prior experience includes working for two of the largest solar companies in the country, Vivint Solar and SunRun where I was a door-to-door salesman who introduced ways customers can save on their monthly energy expenses. Another prior experience involved package handling at UPS and then later truck driving for them. Any job I’ve had has required the ability to effectively communicate.”
The Asnuntuck grad enlisted in the Air Force in 2021, out of Westover, Air Force Base, with his basic military training being at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. “Many hot, blistering days were spent doing Physical Training, and drill but it was worth all the sweat one can imagine.” He added, “Right now, I work as a maintainer at Marine Corps Air Station, New River, Jacksonville, NC. I am still pursuing an education both in the classroom and hands on.”
Joshua is currently serving as a Crew Chief for the Air Force. “I have always been a people person which has helped me to adapt to most social environments. My education was the catalyst of my accomplishments in working for my team.” His current role involves maintenance of the CV-22 Osprey which is an American multi-mission, tiltrotor military aircraft with both vertical takeoff and landing and short takeoff and landing capabilities. It is designed to combine the functionality of a conventional helicopter with the long-range, high-speed cruise performance of a turboprop aircraft.
“What appeals to industries today are not just a degree, but experience and the ability to creatively think during an interview! There are tech giants who are actively looking for fresh talent without a B.A or higher degree. With enough gumption, you can find work almost anywhere if you apply yourself. Therefore, for this Airman’s journey, ACC was a great place to start,” said Joshua.
He concluded, “I cannot say for how long I will remain in the forces as times are constantly changing and the field in which we operate is one of the most dangerous. My contract though, is a four-year enlistment.”