Thomas Eddie Lawson is a graduate student with an applied master’s degree in teaching. However, he is not the average college student. After graduating from Virginia Tech in 1990 with an undergraduate degree in History, Thomas served in the military for quite some time.
“I joined the army fairly late,” said Thomas. “An economic recession in the early-mid 1990s caused me to join in 1994, at the age of 26.
“I joined as an M1A1 Tank armor crewman,” continued Thomas. “I was deployed to Iraq in 2009-2010 and completed 3 years in South Korea. I served 23 years before retiring as an SFC at the age of 49 in 2017,” continued Thomas.
By joining the military Thomas had learned many different things about himself that shaped him into the person he is today.
“I was an average kid that spent most of my early days playing sports and just getting by,” said Thomas. “I lacked discipline and maturity to be a truly dedicated student. It took me a few years along with the military training to mature into who I am today.”
After spending so many years in the military, Thomas was ready to experience more. One can only imagine all the things Thomas witnessed while being deployed in other countries.
“After 23 years I was ready for a change and ready to settle down,” said Thomas. “My wife and I purchased our retirement home, so I wanted a short career that would not force us to move anymore. And hiring on with the army as a contractor did not offer the security to allow us to do that.”
By retiring from the army Thomas was able to follow another path—one he has always loved. A life where he gets to spend some more time with his family contrary to when he was deployed and be able to share his passion of history with others.
“I have always enjoyed coaching and talking history with my army buddies, so I figured I should transition to doing what I really love which is teaching and coaching,” said Thomas.
An advantage that Thomas has over other history teachers and professors is the fact he lived through a few wars himself. It may not be some of the wars that are in printed textbooks since they happened many decades ago, but that is okay. It is the inside perspective he has to offer his students/ colleagues on wars that is more prevalent to them.
“I like to lecture,” said Thomas. “Teaching history is telling a story, and I really enjoy telling the stories that make us who we are both as individuals and a nation. “Most of my students seem to enjoy my lectures, just not day after day of it,” continued Thomas. “I have learned many different strategies to keep my students engaged and still get to tell my stories about history and from my travels around the world.”