Air Force veteran earns doctorate degree

Published 10:04 am Wednesday, April 26, 2023

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LAPLACE — At 54 years old, Robbie Julian is teaching herself the flute, learning to fish, and adding “Dr.” to her name.

Julian’s birthday doubled as a graduation party as she completed coursework for a doctorate degree in business administration.

“I’m just living life, doing things I never thought I would be doing. I don’t know if that’s a midlife crisis or not, but I’m so happy and at peace,” Julian said.

Julian’s inquisitive nature has made her a lifelong learner. Her first degree was an associate of applied science, which she utilized while serving active duty in the Air Force from 1995 to 2003. She worked as a dental assistant and later as a dental technician as the Air Force carried her from coast to coast and even overseas to Panama.

Julian obtained a bachelor of science in medical billing and coding after transitioning to an administrative job with the federal government. In 2017, she earned a master’s degree in healthcare administration through Herzing University. She thought her journey in education would end there, but she found herself drawn back to an online classroom just four years later. Julian started her doctorate program through Walden University on March 7, 2021 and finished ahead of schedule on March 17, 2023.

While Julian’s doctorate degree is in business administration, her coursework included an extensive study on recruitment and retention of healthcare workers.

“I’ve never worked in the healthcare field at all, but I think my next career move would have to be in healthcare so it can come full circle and I can apply all of my degrees. I don’t know if it’s my inner calling and I just haven’t answered it yet,” Julian said.

Julian has previously volunteered at St. Charles Parish Hospital as well as a hospice facility, where she assisted with everything from cleaning and cooking to giving caretakers a reprieve.

“It’s just a love for helping others,” she said. “People want to feel loved and feel like someone cares.”

Julian is an active member of two local churches – Historic Bell Baptist Church in Luling and Historical Bell Bethlehem Baptist in Hahnville. She also serves as a dual member of American Legion Post 383 and Auxiliary Unit 383 of LaPlace.

With an official graduation ceremony scheduled for July in Orlando, Julian is looking forward to hanging out with Mickey Mouse and finally enjoying a vacation that doesn’t involve carving out time for school in the mornings and evenings.

How long that well-deserved rest will last is another question, since Julian has never seemed to sit still for too long. She hopes to be an inspiration not only to her two children, but to the community as a whole by inspiring others to seize the moment.

“I adopted the Nike slogan – Just do it. Don’t ever feel you are too old or that it’s been too long. You’ll be amazed by what you know and how quickly it comes back to you. Life is short. Take advantage of every opportunity that you have,” Julian said.