Anthony Sambula ’01 Named A Winner of the T-Mobile Supplementary Scholarship for Veterans

Anthony Sambula ’01 Named A Winner of the T-Mobile Supplementary Scholarship for Veterans

Anthony Sambula ’01 Named A Winner of the T-Mobile Supplementary Scholarship for Veterans

If you want to know what someone is made of, watch how they rise after falling. Anthony Sambula ’01, the recipient of the T-Mobile Supplementary Scholarship for Veterans, faced many hurdles serving his country as a Petty Officer for the U.S. Navy, working for the U.S. Postal Service and MTA, and earning his College degree. But every one of those challenges made him more resilient and focused. Now he’s back at John Jay—after receiving his bachelor’s degree in ’01—working on his master’s degree in Public Administration in Inspection and Oversight. We sat down with Sambula to learn more about his military career and journey at John Jay.

Joining the Navy
Sambula signed up for the United States Navy Reserve after high school and was put on active duty in 1985. He quickly took to the task at hand, working side-by-side with his fellow sailors in the ship’s engine room, and learning the intricacies of Navy life. Thinking back on his military career Sambula recalls receiving a major boost in confidence from an officer on board. “I remember when I first got on the ship, I had to draw an engineering plan. I had taken a little bit of drafting in high school so when I drew the plan the result was precise. It was like an architect drew it,” says Sambula. “The Lieutenant Commander and Plant Chief Engineer were so impressed with my draft that they immediately put me to work on the equipment.” The Lieutenant Commander’s confidence in him is something Sambula never forgot. “He saw something in me, and that type of leadership and confidence in my ability, inspired me. It made me want to stay in the Navy.”

Unfortunately, his dream of a long-term military career was cut short. “As a young man trying to move up in the ranks, I needed encouragement and good leadership. Initially I had that, but then a new Chief Warrant Officer was appointed. He hindered my growth, and it’s sad to say, but I think it was because of race,” says Sambula. “He changed my evaluation after meeting me just once, and the lower score meant I couldn’t reenlist.” After working in the reserves, Sambula was awarded a United States Navy Expeditionary Medal and honorably discharged at the age of 26.

“John Jay opened a new path for me in life. It’s because of my education at the College I was able to pass the postal police exam on the second try and rise in the ranks at the U.S. Postal Service.”—Anthony Sambula

Finding New Opportunities through John Jay
Following his discharge from the Navy, Sambula began his career with the U.S. Postal Service working as a custodian. At the time, his cousin, a John Jay student, suggested he check out the College to help advance his opportunities within the agency. “Before enrolling in John Jay, I took the postal police exam and failed. I figured taking college courses would help and it sure did,” says Sambula. “John Jay opened a new path for me in life. It’s because of my education at the College I was able to pass the exam on the second try and eventually rise in the ranks at the Postal Service, and then the MTA.”

After two decades of working in public service Sambula retired but his desire to go back to work quickly surfaced. “I have more to learn and even more to give. There is still service left in me.”

Anthony Sambula

“When I found out I was named a recipient of the T-Mobile Supplementary Scholarship for Veterans, I finally felt like my work as a veteran, worker and student, was validated.”—Anthony Sambula

Winning the T-Mobile Scholarship
With a goal of advancing his career, Sambula is back at John Jay pursuing a master’s degree in Public Administration in Inspection and Oversight. Financing his education was a big worry, but thanks to the encouragement of professors and classmates, he applied for and won the T-Mobile Supplementary Scholarship for Veterans. “When I found out I was named a recipient of the T-Mobile Supplementary Scholarship for Veterans, I felt like my work as a veteran, worker and student, was validated,” says Sambula. “I felt a huge burden was lifted off of me. Graduate studies can be frightening because of tuition cost. With this scholarship, I don’t have to worry about that. Now, I can just focus on my studies and maintaining my 4.0 GPA.”