Meet Stephen B.

Early Childhood Education graduate

“This is what I was meant to do in this chapter of my life.”

It’s never too late to follow your passions – especially when it means becoming a mentor to young people.

For much of Stephen Breen’s wide-ranging 36-year military career, he enjoyed mentoring younger service members. He had that opportunity when he entered warrant officer school at Fort Rucker, Alabama, mid-way through his career. “I was a 46-year-old soldier and working with soldiers, some of whom were right out of high school,” he said. “I saw their struggles and I knew it was important to help them out if I could.”

Stephen’s career took him around the world, and after a three-year stint as a warrant officer at the Watervliet Arsenal, he retired in 2016. Settled down in the Capital District and running his own small business, he completed an associate degree in Business Administration, but he also was continuing to look for ways to give back. A friend from the gym he attended was a professor in Hudson Valley’s Teacher Preparation Department and mentioned the college’s Teaching Assistant certificate, which would allow him to work directly with children in the classroom after a year of full-time study. He enjoyed earning the certificate so much that he went back to complete his associate degree in Early Childhood Education, graduating in 2020.

Stephen said he looks forward to getting back into the classroom when the COVID-19 pandemic begins to wane.

“This is what I was meant to do in this chapter of my life,” he said. “I don’t regret my military career at all, but I’ve really enjoyed this and I have so much respect for the teachers in the department. They really give you the tools and the confidence to get in front of students.”