Mark Skinner: Exploring new territory

WTU Force Structure Army Staff Sgt. Mark Skinner speaks to one of several company representatives attending the Hire a Hero job fair held at held at the Spates Community Center on Joint Base Fort Myer-Henderson Hall, November 16, 2016. Skinner is currently pursuing a Master's Degree in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) from the Citadel. (Photo Credit: Annette P. Gomes, Warrior Care and Transition)

By Annette P. Gomes, Warrior Care and Transition

Staff Sgt. Mark Skinner has been busy exploring the question why? His curious scientific mind is preparing him for a career in teaching as he heads towards medical retirement.

"I love the scientific process, theoretical thinking and the application of science in the modern world. People don't understand the why and I want to help change that," Skinner explained.

Raised in southwest Virginia, Skinner began dreaming of a world with endless possibilities. After high school, he joined the Army and became a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division where he was able to see the world. His maternal and paternal grandfathers served in the Air Force and Army, respectively.

"My introduction into the military began with them. I knew I could have a great life, obtain great job skills, and do something purposeful and that was gratifying to me," Skinner said.

After 14 years of being a paratrooper, Skinner suffered injuries including a herniated disk and nerve damage to his left leg.

"As much as I would like to continue serving, I'm just not able to any more. I want to continue to serve in another capacity and that means teaching the next generation of young scientists," he explained.

Equipped with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and Natural Science, as well as a technology background with the Army, Skinner says it's time to begin the next chapter in his life.

"It was my wife Mylana who helped with the change. It was time for me to do something a little less explosive," he said. "I'm very passionate about Science. Everything today relies on it. It is nothing more than a creative and logical thinking process to solve complex problems. I want to teach others the challenging concepts that turn so many young minds away from math and science subjects," he added.

Skinner is currently pursuing a Master's Degree in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) from the Citadel. He will medically retire early 2017.