Najah Barton began her military career in the United States Marine Corps at the age of 17, with the occupational specialty of communication/navigation technician. She enjoyed the aviation community but found herself looking for a different specialty. She landed in the legal administration field. “As a legal chief and later legal officer, I worked closely with service members and in some instances family members processing legal documentation, providing referrals and information to community and military resources, and served in several capacities as a part of inspection teams and provided subject-matter information to senior leadership.” She quickly discovered that her career passion was helping others.
Najah began her graduate studies after departing active duty. She volunteered her time to give back to the community, mentor young people, and begin her professional civilian career in the social services field. “The social services field has always been a passion of mine,” she says. Najah’s post service career has included working as a family support partner, victim advocate, and program manager. “My present position provides managerial oversight of a domestic abuse program with the federal government. I thoroughly enjoy my work.”
Najah develops and provides plans and policy that support prevention of family problems (including family violence) that negatively impact family relationships and detract from mission readiness. She uses her social science background to develop, coordinate, recommend, and review prevention and intervention plans and policies. The goal is to strengthen family life while anticipating and understanding the physical and emotional demands associated military life. She also brings her expertise into the local community by volunteering with domestic violence shelters to aid with crisis intervention and response. Among her many other volunteer responsibilities, Najah also mentors at-risk youth and serves as a court-appointed special advocate for foster youth.
Najah faced challenges in shifting to a civilian career, including relocating across the country and problems with reintegrating post-deployment. “These challenges served as the catalyst for propelling my desire to continue in school. [My interest in] relational issues and family systems was highlighted by my own experiences. I overcame going through a divorce after relocating across the country—with the help of many of my colleagues met at Argosy University, Washington D.C.” Najah adds that the rigid structure of the military helped her with the discipline needed to be successful in school.
She says that her instructors and fellow students were welcoming, supportive, non-judgmental, and human. “Too often, those qualities are difficult to find when starting over in a new place. To find [those qualities] assisted with my decision to remain in Virginia and complete my [Doctor of Education degree]. The close-knit setting, small class sizes, and hands-on faculty served to build upon my ‘civilian’ network. Everyone that I have met throughout my educational pursuits is now like family and continues to mentor me through my career.”
To help with the costs of education, Najah used tuition assistance while still active in the military. After completing her time in the service, she used the post-9/11 GI Bill®. “As a full-time student, I attend courses consecutively to fully use my benefits. I was able to complete one of my Master’s degrees and the first two years of my doctoral degree using the benefits.”
Najah’s professional and service awards include:
- National Dean’s Honor Roll
- Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal
- Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals (3 awards)
- Good Conduct Medal Navy/Marine Corps
- National Defense Service Medal
- Afghanistan Campaign Medal
- Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
- Sea Service Deployment Ribbon
- North Atlantic Treaty Organization Medal- International Security Assistance Forces in Afghanistan
GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.
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