SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --
Staff Sgt. William Chorpenning, 4th Space Operations Squadron training manager, knew at age 14 he wanted to pursue a Ph.D. in psychology.
Chorpenning will finish his master’s degree in developmental psychology and personality disorders next October at Denver University prior to working for his Ph.D.
Chorpenning looks to fulfill that goal next October when he starts work toward his doctorate’s degree in developmental psychology and personality disorders.
“It’s hard to describe, but it’s definitely a lifetime achievement,” Chorpenning said. “The goal was to obtain by 31 and I’m on track. Right now, I’m 25 and the earliest I could get it would be 28 or 29. It feels good.”
Chorpenning used the Community College of the Air Force programs, namely, the Air University - Associate to Baccalaureate Cooperative to assist with his degrees.
According to Air Force Virtual Education Center website, “The AU-ABC directs Airmen with an associate degree in applied science degrees from the Community College of the Air Force to a collection of accredited colleges and universities to consider when completing a four-year degree.”
Chorpenning researched educational regulations to see the available benefits for Airmen and mapped his route to a Ph.D.
“Using the program helps shave time off your degree plan,” Chorpenning said. “I was able to go from zero to 60 credits in two months and shaved off two years of college. I got my bachelor’s degree in [psychology] in about two years and six months. I think the CCAF is great, if you know how you can use it.”
Chorpenning said it’s important Airmen discover their passion and continue to achieve goals in that field.
“My vocation is to teach and help people, and developmental psychology is a way to help out,” he said. “I want to help people who are around my age; in that transition period between 18 and 25. I feel like you make some of the most difficult decisions in your life during that period. If you make the wrong one, it can affect a long period of your life.”
Master Sgt. Bryan Scroggs, 4th SOPS first sergeant, isn’t surprised by Chorpenning‘s pursuit of a Ph.D. Scroggs said it showcases Chorpenning‘s character.
“[Staff Sergeant] Chorpenning’s actions toward progressing his education is absolutely on par with the Airman he is,” Scroggs said. “He is an individual who cares about making a difference. He understands and embodies the importance of education. The steps Chorpenning continues to make are an example of an individual who will never settle for mediocracy.”
Chorpenning‘s work isn’t just beneficial for his future, Scroggs also realizes the positive example it sets for fellow Airmen.
“Excellence in all we do does not just reside in the mission and our official duties,” Scroggs said. “Our education and knowledge has a direct impact on how we accomplish the mission. Our knowledge allows individuals to be critical thinkers. Critical thinkers are never happy just settling for how things are being accomplished.”
When Chorpenning earns his degree, Scroggs said the 4th SOPS plans to celebrate the accomplishment accordingly.
“The most important part is to get him out in front of our Airmen,” Scroggs said. “[We want to] allow him to share his experiences and accomplishments with them. This was not an easy road and there were sacrifices that had to be made. Airmen need to hear personal stories and accomplishments from other Airmen. This allows our Airmen to understand they are no different and can accomplish anything with dedication and hard work.”