Grad Story #24


Grad Story #24


SSgt Felix Gelinas, MS
Space Studies


Graduate Program: Space Studies

On campus or Distance student: Distance Student

Branch of Service: USAF Military Service -

Start Year: 2002

End Year: I'm still serving

Military Job: Instructor for Civil Engineering


Are you using the GI Bill or Tuition Assistance Program?

I am currently using both. The TA covers up to $250 per credit hour in the graduate classes and I use the GI Bill top up to cover the difference.


To what degree does the GI Bill/ Tuition Assistance Program cover your school expenses?

It covers almost everything after we deduct the Top-up from the remaining tuition. The only expenses not covered are the books and I heard talks of letting active duty get the $1000 per year for books down the road.


What prompted you to return to school?

I’ve never really stopped going to school. I gathered 3 AAS from my various fields of expertise in the Air Force and I worked on my Bachelor on my down time. I am now pursuing the field that I always wanted to study into and I will try to change career path within the Air Force.


Was adjusting to university life a challenge?

I believe that after serving in the military, you should have a really good level of motivation, time management skills and the right attitude to get things done. I am still serving while going to school but I strongly believe that it would be easy to adapt to University life.


What has your experience at UND been like?

This is my first graduate class ever, but I have received great service and answers from all the staff at UND. Being a distance student, it does make it a little harder on some of the technicalities to get accomplished but overall I had a great experience.


Do you believe your military experience has made you a better student? If so, how?

Definitely, the Air Force made me aware of my potential and goals, and gave me the tools necessary to achieve and exceed both. We have great support from our education office and supervisors that not only encourage education but highly support it.


What advice do you have for veterans returning to school?

Sit down and listen! Just follow your goals, if you are sitting in a classroom it is probably because you decided to enhance your future. You will not succeed if your mind is on something else so focus your effort on one thing at a time and excel in everything all the time.


Susan Caraher




SSgt Felix Gelinas-original.jpg


Susan Caraher, “Grad Story #24,” Grad Stories, accessed May 27, 2018,