Anna Kaminski-Reed was an Air Force munitions specialist in Iraq when her vehicle ran over an improvised explosive device in 2005.
The explosion seriously injured her back, but she recovered.
Then, in 2007, she fell and shattered her left leg on a boulder while rock climbing. Poor medical care in an Italian hospital left her with no nerve function below the knee.
Although that injury ended her Air Force career, it didn’t slow her down.
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Friday night, the 30-year-old received her master’s degree in educational leadership from Columbus State University in a ceremony at the Columbus Civic Center. Her husband, Jeremiah Reed, parents, Greg and Janie Kaminski, and sister, Jennifer, attended the graduation.
“This means a lot to me,” she said Friday afternoon. “I have always believed that every situation is what you make of it. I believe that when you get an opportunity to take advantage of it. I got the opportunity to further my education here.”
Kaminski-Reed wants to become a professor and has already landed a job as director of the Embry Riddle University campuses in Europe. Her husband is an Air Force pilot and is stationed in Aviano, Italy.
In a release, CSU associate professor of Educational Leadership Gary Shouppe spoke about one of his special students.
“Anna went through some painful, grueling rehabilitation but never missed a beat,” he said. “Even when she was unable to sit, she stood through class and took notes from the back of the room. She was a 4.0 (GPA) student throughout.”
And she has played a key role as a graduate student and intern.
“Anna was critical to the successful launching of an online degree in educational leadership, and overall, brought unique perspectives to her work as a graduate assistant,” CSU Interim Provost of Academic Affairs Tom Hackett said on the school’s website. “She became a valued colleague whose skills in the areas of technology and leadership were so recognized that the Educational Leadership faculty asked her to guide them through their strategic planning process, a task she accomplished adroitly.”
The Eugene, Ore., native will be returning to Italy soon but may be back in the states in January.
“I’m a University of Oregon fan and I sure would like to be back for that championship football game against Auburn,” she said. “Go Ducks.”