Temple University's military-connected student of the month is Bendu Chowoe. Earlier this month, we sat down and interviewed Bendu about her personal experience at Temple, while continuing her military career.
Q: Can you start by giving us a little bit of background on where you're from?
A: I am originally from Liberia, I lived there until 2008. I moved to South West Philly when I was eight years old, and just recently moved to the Delco area.
My fathers dream was to move to America to create better opportunities for his kids. My family saw all of the various cultures in America and how people from all over the world traveled there, for the same reason that my father had in mind. One of the hardest learning curves for my family was how to fluently speak English in America. It was somewhat of a culture shock, because my mom's English was not that strong. It definitely was not as easy as we expected.
Q: Tell us about your life at Temple.
A: I will be a Sophmore at Temple in Fall 2021. I am a Psychology major in the College of Liberal Arts, and also want to become Cognitive Neuroscience APB Certified Behavior Analysis. I didn't want to create a path that was too narrow, because I don't really want to be a traditional doctor. Instead, I want to focus on the Population of Behavior. This idea focuses on teenagers who lack comfort at home and hold back on expressing their feelings. I am currently taking classes that go hand-in-hand with becoming certified. I am also taking French classes. I used to speak and fully understand fluent French in Liberia, but I have lost that ability since traveling to America.
Q: Has the transition to online positively or negatively affected your experience at Temple? If so, how?
A: I had a lot of trouble during the peak of quarantine and online classes. Being at home and having nowhere to go really affected my everyday mood, because I am the type of person who loves to go out. However, the experience as a whole taught me a lot about myself. One thing that the online life taught me was to be more patient with myself and others. I have made it a goal of mine to consistently help others in my everyday life.
Q: What are you looking forward to as you continue your time at Temple?
A: Well, first, I am looking forward to trying all of the different food trucks on campus. I also can't wait to meet new people who are dedicated to their classes and academic career, just like me. One of the reasons I chose Temple is because of how much the community truly feels like a family. I am super excited to become more involved with the Temple military community and TVA once we return to campus.
Q: Do you have any idea of what you want to do after you graduate from Temple?
A: I am aiming towards staying at Temple to get my Masters, and then eventually also getting my PHD. I don't know what I will be doing in ten years, but I do know that I want to be happy and make a change wherever I am.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and why you joined the military?
A: A large reason I joined the military was because of my family history. My father passed away in 2015, so a lot of my life was spent growing up with a single mother. I didn't want to put the pressure of college financial hardships on her, and my fathers dream before he passed was to join the military. Both my sister and I wanted to honor our father by continuing his legacy. I am now in the Air Force National Guard at Horsham Base in Pennsylvania.
Q: What exactly is your title in the military?
A: Right now, I am a maintenance technician in the military, but I am interested in exploring different positions in the future.
Q: How long do you want to be in the military?
A: I enlisted in December 2018. I definitely depends because I want to ensure that I have a larger network opportunities postgraduate school.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about your current training program?
A: I am currently involved in a two week stint that is an Airman Development Program. This program focuses on professional development and empowerment. I am not focused on going overseas because I don't want deployment to impact my education.
Q: What advice would you give to other Temple University, military-connected or veteran students?
A: Make sure you listen and learn about the GI Bill and all other benefits that Temple offers. You have to take charge and be organized in order to stay on top of your responsibilities. Show up to all events and meetings with an open mind. Make sure to ask questions, it is one of the most successful ways you can learn. I have been involved with the TVA, and have been a student at Temple for about two years now, and I am still learning something new everyday.