As a first generation high school graduate, Jason Wagner has overcome numerous institutional barriers to achieve academic and professional success. He enlisted in the Navy the day after his 17th birthday, and after six years of service, with one tour to Operation Enduring Freedom and two tours to Operation Iraqi Freedom, he has been instilled with a great deal of drive and purpose.
Education has never been a priority for Jason’s family, so he sought to break that mold. The Navy provided him with the opportunity to learn the discipline, honor and commitment required to find success in the civilian world. Jason completed his Bachelor’s degree in only two-and-a-half years after his enlistment, maintaining a high academic standard.
Half of Jason’s time in the Navy was spent forward-deployed out of Yokosuka, Japan, serving as the “tip of the sword.” Every international flare-up required their immediate deployment including three weeks after September 11, 2001, when Jason’s crew was sent to insert the initial special operations forces into Afghanistan. Yet again, they were called upon to participate in the initial invasion of Iraq in 2003.
While Jason enjoyed the sense of purpose these missions gave him, his time in the military also gave him a calling – involvement in international relations. The real -world effects of domestic and foreign policy decisions have instilled in him a deep passion and drive to pursue diplomacy as a career path.