Kristina Guilics: Unusual Background, Unlimited Potential
Mar 27, 2006
There’s no such thing as not having enough time to fulfill your dreams. Just ask 26-year old Kristina Gulics who describes herself as a mother, wife, veteran of the United States Navy, full-time employee and full-time student with plans to attend law school. She’s also very focused, very high achieving and very happy.
Now in her fourth semester at Middlesex, Kristina sought no special attention or accommodation. When she was selected to receive the Ron Romano Academic Achievement Award from the Middlesex County College Foundation last semester, her story became known throughout the College.
The Ron Romano Academic Achievement Award provides financial support to two high achieving students in each of the academic divisions on the basis of their first year’s work. Students do no apply for this scholarship—the College finds them!
Kristina came to Middlesex after literally going around the world. Born and raised in Texas, she enlisted in the Navy when she was 19; attended boot camp in Chicago, then went to Virginia Beach, Amsterdam, Iraq and Bahrain where she met her ship, the USS Port Royal. After patrolling the waters of the Gulf for several months, the ship traveled to many Asian countries before returning to its home port of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
The Port Royal had a complement of 365 officers and enlisted personnel, including 112 women. During the evenings, after the computers were shut down and there were no longer jobs to do, many of the men and women would go up to the fantail deck and play hackeysack. It was there that Petty Officer 3rd Class Kristina Armstrong met Petty Officer 2nd Class Daniel Gulics of Woodbridge, NJ. Because enlisted personnel are prohibited from on-ship dating, Kristina left the Navy after her four-year hitch and she and Dan were married in Hawaii. “I always knew we would eventually be living in New Jersey because Dan’s family had been there for generations,” Kristina said.
“Our son Patrick was born on September 8, 2001, three days before 9-11,” Kristina said. “I couldn’t leave home and Dan was working around the clock. Fortunately, Dan didn’t have to leave Hawaii. Life for Patrick was so intense that he didn’t begin speaking until we moved back to New Jersey. He was three years old.”
Kristina and Dan decided to purchase Dan’s mother’s house in Woodbridge, which had been in the family for more than 100 years. Kristina needed a job and found one as the office manager for a dental practice in Florham Park, where she continues to work about 30 hours a week. Dan began working for the Township of Woodbridge.
“I decided to go to Middlesex long before I began there,” Kristina said. “Everyone I talked to knew about MCC’s reputation and that sounded perfect for me.”
Reprint from Spring 06 Middlesex NOW