From sea to IT: Navy veteran Troy Luquire highlights experience as Wallace State student

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Troy Luquire (WSCC)

HANCEVILLE, Ala. – Troy Luquire is a computer science student at Wallace State Community College. His role goes beyond traditional classroom learning, as he immerses himself in various technology-related projects across campus, including being a part of a work-study program with the IT Department.

On any given day, one may be able to find him snaking an ethernet cable behind office desks or carrying computer parts in his arms. He isn’t just a student or technician. Luquire, a family man with a wealth of stories and life experiences, is also a United States Navy veteran.

In 2006, Luquire joined the United States Navy and began his active-duty career in Pensacola, Fla., where he trained to become an aviation electronics technician. He spent a few months here before deciding it wasn’t the right fit. He transferred to the Naval Technical Training Facility in Meridian, Miss., where he was taught to be an aviation administrator.

Luquire has always had a keen eye for detail and a knack for math, so working in aviation administration fit him well. For three years he was stationed at a Naval Air Station in Washington state. His duties included maintaining flight logs and managing various aircraft on base. Following his first deployment, he decided he wanted a change of pace in his career.

Luquire spent most of his time in the Navy working as an equipment operator. He has had a penchant for working with tools and heavy machinery most of his life. In the span of eight years, Luquire was deployed four times. After two deployments in Washington, two deployments in California and two additional rounds of schooling, he decided it was time to come home to Alabama.

“With the workups, the being gone all the time with sea duty, the change of schooling – I  realized just how tired I was and how much I wanted to go home,” Luquire said. “I decided to stay in the Navy Reserve and am still there today.” With the Navy Reserve, Luquire is on duty one weekend a month and two weeks out of the year.

In 2015, Luquire moved back home and got a job working as a parts runner on construction jobsites. A couple of years later, Luquire began working at AT&T, operating bucket trucks and using heavy machinery to build network infrastructure. He worked there for four years until a jobsite accident required him to have surgery on his shoulder.

A new direction at Wallace State

“When I moved back home, I kept seeing cybersecurity mentioned all over the internet, so I decided I should pursue that field. I always liked technology, so it seemed like a good fit,” said Luquire. “I still wanted to be able to get my hands dirty and hopefully learn the ins and outs of the trade before I retire.”

“I may have run heavy equipment most of my life, but I’ve always been a nerd. I started playing video games when I was knee-high to a grasshopper and have had my fair share of experience with cable management, so it just felt right,” he said.

Luquire enrolled in the computer science program at Wallace State in the fall of 2022. As a part of the work-study program with the IT Department, he works four days a week helping technology run smoothly on campus.

“The curriculum and the duties of my work-study program challenge me and teach me new skills all the time,” Luquire said. “The people over in IT are great people. For the past few weeks, we’ve been putting new computers, printers and projectors in classrooms,” said Luquire.

Whether in classes or during his work-study, Luquire said one of his favorite parts of Wallace State is learning something new every day.

“It’s been great. The curriculum is great, the instructors are great. Wallace is great,” he said. “There is no drama. People on campus are friendly. Everyone that is here is here to better themselves.”

Wallace State has been recognized by the National Security Administration (NSA) as a Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense.

Wallace State a Military Friendly College

Luquire noted the number of veterans that are in his classes at Wallace State.

“I tend to stick to myself throughout the day and do what I have to do, but there are many veterans in my computer science classes, and we are all very similar. Similar mindsets and similar experiences. That is also one of my favorite parts about being here,” Luquire said.

Wallace State has repeatedly earned the designation of a Military Friendly College and was also named a Military Friendly Spouse School for 2022-2023. Wallace State offers several services specifically for veterans such as scholarships for veterans and their families, college credit for prior learning and professional experience for those who qualify, as well as free tutoring, success advising, career services and more.

The Veterans’ Corner is located on the sixth floor of the WSCC Library. The Veterans’ Corner was established for veterans in order for them to have one central location together to study, socialize and relax between classes. Meet-and-greets, information sessions and workshops are often held here.

Wallace State’s Veterans’ Corner was initiated by former IT Department employee Virginia Barber and her Leadership Wallace State team in spring 2015.

Barber, an Air Force veteran who served in Desert Storm, wanted to raise awareness about the experiences of veterans returning to civilian life and proposed a location where veterans could meet and support each other.

Jackie Arnold, financial aid program specialist and VA Certifying Official at Wallace State, works each day with veterans like Luquire. She spends valuable one-on-one time with veterans, helping them obtain the most from their education.

“Here at Wallace State, we are deeply appreciative of the invaluable contributions of our veteran students,” Arnold said. “The Veterans’ Corner is a great resource for our students as it gives them a venue to study, socialize and relax during down time.”

Luquire said he has also taken advantage of the Tutoring Lab and encourages all other students to do the same. The Tutoring Lab is on the eighth floor of the Bailey Center and offers free one-on-one tutoring for all academic programs offered at Wallace State. In addition to tutoring students on course-specific topics, the Tutoring Lab also helps students create their resumes, improve their study habits and aid in writing and reading skills. The Tutoring Lab is an “open lab,” meaning that an appointment is not required. Any student is welcome to come by the lab anytime it is open.

Also on the eighth floor of the Bailey Center is a computer courtyard, where students have access to 25 computers. The computer courtyard is a quiet place for students to take online tests and complete online homework, write papers, conduct research, work on assignments and much more.

Luquire is slated to graduate in the summer of the upcoming year. He looks forward to finishing his education and finding a job in cybersecurity.

“I’ve done a lot in my life. There are probably enough stories to write a book about,” Luquire said. “I don’t regret the things I’ve done because it made me a better person. I am grateful for those things and I’m grateful to be here.”

Veterans, national guard/reservists and dependents/survivors are eligible for VA education benefits at Wallace State. The Alabama Community College System adopted The Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014 (Choice Act) after it was passed by the United States Congress and signed into law. The Choice Act guarantees in-state tuition to veterans and their family members.

Registration for the Spring 2024 semester is currently underway, with classes beginning Jan. 8 for regular and Mini Term I and March 6 for Mini Term II. Registration for Flex Start I courses will be held Jan. 13-19, with classes starting Jan. 15 and registration for Flex Start II courses will be held Jan. 20-26, with classes starting Jan. 22. Visit www.wallacestate.edu/register-now to apply and register for classes.

For more information about Wallace State, visit www.wallacestate.edu or call 256-352-8000.