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Marine Corps veteran reflects on her path back to UL Lafayette

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Being a part of the military means being a part of something bigger than yourself. As a former member of the United States Marine Corps, alumna Elisa Foster has devoted her life to serving others. Foster '14 '20 is originally from Church Point, Louisiana. Growing up, she never imagined that her life journey would lead her to where she is today. But as she reflects on her past experiences, she knows that she wouldn't have wanted it any other way.

Foster initially started her undergraduate career at UL Lafayette right out of high school. She received a band scholarship and was a member of UL Lafayette's marching band, the Pride of Acadiana. "I was so ecstatic to be in [UL Lafayette's] marching band," said Foster. Shortly into her college career, she met her now-husband through a blind date. Foster first learned more about being in the military through him because he was a member of the United States Marine Corps. After they got married, Foster decided to pause her education to move with her husband to North Carolina so that he could work on a military base.

While on the military base, Foster began to learn more about what it meant to be a Marine. She started to realize that this was something she was interested in. "I thought, 'I can do that,'" said Foster. She decided to follow her instincts and join the United States Marine Corps herself.

Throughout Foster's journey in the military, she learned a lot about herself and her core values. When things were tough, she found the determination to make it through. Being a Marine meant that you were part of a family. Everyone had to work together as a team, no matter what you looked like or where you came from. Her experience in the military allowed her to travel, meet amazing people, and serve her country.

After completing her time with the Marines, Foster and her husband moved back to the Acadiana area. She started working for the Opelousas Police Department and eventually began working with the Lafayette Police Department. She then decided that she wanted to go back to school and finish her college degree. Foster went back to UL Lafayette and graduated in 2014 with a degree in general studies, but this wasn't enough for her. "I always wanted to help people," said Foster. In 2017, she decided to go back to UL Lafayette again, this time, to pursue her passion for helping others and earn a degree in child and family studies.

Going back to school later on in life was another massive challenge for Foster, but she was ready to work hard and make her dreams happen. She credits the professors in the child and family studies department for being so supportive throughout her time as a student. They had high expectations for their students, but Foster was determined to succeed. "It motivated me to do well," said Foster. After years of studying and perseverance, Foster graduated in the spring of 2020 with her second bachelor's degree in child and family studies from UL Lafayette.

As she enters this next phase of her life, Foster desires to continue to learn and grow as a person and a professional. Currently, she works with the Louisiana Workforce Commission as a veterans outreach program specialist. Foster would like to continue her education by getting her master's degree in a field related to child and family studies or even business. Regardless of where she ends up, Foster is determined to make the most of her life by doing what she loves. "I'm not quitting or giving up," said Foster. One thing is certain about her future—Foster will succeed at whatever she puts her mind to.

While this story was published on Veterans Day, the Alumni Association is always thinking of our veterans within the UL Lafayette community and our entire country. Thank you for your service and sacrifices.

To our alumni who serve in the military, we encourage you to fill out our Military Service Inquiry Form and welcome you to get involved with our Ragin' Cajun Veterans Alumni Chapter.

Photo Caption: Elisa Foster