Former Air Force Captain Finds UC Merced the Perfect Grad School Choice

Former Air Force Captain Finds UC Merced the Perfect Grad School Choice

Don't try to convince Trevor Albertson there's anything lacking here.

He has traveled the world, lived in Washington, D.C. and taught at the Air Force Academy in Colorado, and he chose UC Merced.

The 26-year-old graduate student said he finds everything he needs here in Merced - a town that used to see a lot more Air Force personnel before the 1995 closure of Castle Air Force Base in nearby Atwater.

Albertson lives in the foothills, commuting an hour each way on school days. He's happy to be near ski areas and Yosemite, and enjoys UC Merced's intimate campus environment as a backdrop for his studies and research.

"And everything I don't want is not here," he said, remembering the stunning traffic in D.C.

He and his wife of three years and their "three evil beagles," Tallulah, Buddy and Belle, moved to the Central Valley before fall semester started so he could study Cold War history with professor Gregg Herken.

Albertson earned his master's in international affairs from Catholic University in Washington, D.C., while serving in the Air Force. He taught political science at the Air Force Academy.

Albertson said he's excited to work with Herken, a well-known Cold War historian, and loves the interdisciplinary nature of his studies here. He's already working on research that will take him back to the Library of Congress in D.C. over Winter Break.

"Maybe we don't have the breadth of courses yet, but we have this depth of study, these experts," Albertson said of his professors. "Some of the guys I'll work with in the (Air Force) reserves next summer have already asked if I can get signed copies of Professor Herken's books for them."

He said it's exciting to watch UC Merced grow, but also great to be at a small school where he can meet with Herken and other faculty as needed, instead of the rare meetings he would expect at a larger school.

"At a small school, your chances to excel are magnified," he said. "And there's that beautiful view from the library reading room at sunset."

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