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Clearing others for liftoff
by Alex Komar and Matt Jardin |
For the past decade, Christina Geller, A.A.S. Accounting ’03, B.B.A. Accounting ’06, and her husband Yevgeniy Geller, B.B.A. Management ’04, have been supporting the UAA Excellence in Air Force ROTC scholarship.
As a recipient of donor-funded scholarships herself, Geller used this aid to supplement her UA Scholars Award, bestowed to Alaska high school students who are in the top 10% of their class.
“By receiving those scholarships, UAA and the Air Force ROTC program were paying it forward to me, so now I am paying it forward to someone else,” said Geller. “I know how financially difficult it can be to go to college for some. And since I received those scholarships, I did not have to pay as much, so I wanted to give back.”
Along with giving back and opening the door for future UAA students, Geller had three other specific career goals in mind after graduating: to deploy with the Air Force at least once, to become squadron commander and eventually lieutenant colonel.
Having achieved two out of her three goals, Geller will cross off the last one and become lieutenant colonel on June 1, 2021. And May 2021 will mark her 15-year anniversary of service with the Air Force. Currently, Geller serves as a major, an active-duty Air Force finance officer, squadron commander and was named Air Force Finance Officer of the Year in 2011.
Geller and her husband, a computer programmer, now reside in Grand Forks, North Dakota, with their on-the-go two-year-old son. She hopes her family’s continued support of their alma mater, even with the distance, serves as an example for others to pave the way for the next generation of students in Alaska.
“A little bit can go a long way. As long as you can give back, that is all that matters,” encouraged Geller, before shifting gears to channel sage advice from her parents to address prospective students. “Set your dreams. Don’t worry about if you can achieve it or not. If you put your mind to it, you can achieve it!”