Brent Phillips found himself as a high school drop out after not finishing his junior year. He was told he would not amount to anything as one without an education. Later, he joined the military and became military police for the Marine Corps. Brent worked hard and earned the privilege to serve as security with Marine One, the Presidential helicopter at HMX-1, then went 1st Marine Division and served in Iraq. While abroad in Iraq courageously serving our country, he was hit with four rocket propelled grenade and shot with an AK-47. After this traumatic experience Brent was retired from active duty. When recalling his experience in Iraq Brent said, “I loved it and still miss it.”
Upon returning from active duty Brent was determined to prove those who doubted him wrong. He followed his passion of astronomy and worked weekends at the Challenger Space Center. He returned to school to pursue his other passion of becoming a high school teacher and is majoring in secondary education with an emphasis in history. Brent hopes to use his story to motivate future students to stay in school and to show them that nothing can hold you back from accomplishing your goals.
Returning to school was not the only goal Brent had in mind. He wanted to excel, so naturally he joined the Honors College here at Grand Canyon University. When asked what his favorite part about being part of the Honors College Brent responded, “…the strive to better not only myself, but the people I meet.” Being a part of the Honors College has given Brent the opportunity and challenge to show what he can do and push himself farther than he thought he ever could academically.
Brent’s efforts do not stop there; he was a symposium winner this year. Brent presented VEGA outreach (Veteran Education Group Astronomy). This is his self-funded astronomy outreach program for veterans and students. Brent said, “I created VEGA to share the wonders of the universe with veterans and students.” VEGA makes it possible for him to bring equipment that students might otherwise not get to use and may never get to see. With his astronomy passion and drive to be a high school teacher Brent hopes to use his passion to show students how the stars tie into history in different time periods.
Brent is a prime example of how our honors students are making a difference around campus and in the communities surrounding Grand Canyon University. Brent’s passion is inspiring and his success story is one that we are so excited to have been a part of.
Grand Canyon University’s Honors College provides motivated and ambitious students with the tools they need to succeed at GCU and post-graduation. Learn more by visiting our website or contacting us using the Request More Information button.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University.