Neither time nor distance will deter Carlo Nino from completing his
graduate studies in international relations in spring 2002, although his
vantage point is 7,000 miles from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio.

Nino is in Kandahar, Afghanistan, where the U.S. Marine captain is
stationed with the
15th Marine Expeditionary Unit of San Diego, Calif., based at Camp
Pendleton. The 27-year-old San
Antonian, who is a graduate of St. Mary’s (B.A. in ’96) and Central
Catholic High School,
is in charge of air support at the airport base in Kandahar. As a combat
air controller, he provides
air support to ground troops. He has been in Afghanistan since early November.

For Larry Hufford, Ph.D., graduate director of International Relations,
independent study courses now have new
meaning with Nino’s duty. “I’ve had graduate students in peace-keeping
missions in Kosovo, Macedonia, Bosnia, Korea,
the Sinai and those stationed in places like Colombia and Germany, but
never in a combat situation such as Afghanistan,”
says Hufford, a professor of political science who holds a doctorate from
the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Hufford uses e-mail to communicate with Nino, a security policy specialist,
who is taking two security-related courses on Asia and the Middle East,
respectively, to satisfy his non-thesis M.A. program requirements. His goal
is to be a May 2002 graduate.

“He is very determined to complete his coursework and graduate on time,”
Carlos Nino says of his son. The elder Nino attended St. Mary’s in 1963-64
but left to join the U.S. Navy and served two tours of duty in Vietnam.
“St. Mary’s has been my son’s educational foundation and I am the
go-between now with professor Hufford to help Carlo finish.” Carlo is
mailing his work to his father, who will forward the assignments to Hufford.

“Carlo’s message is: ‘Complete your education. Don’t use any excuse not to
complete your education,'” Hufford says.
“He is a great role model to the young men under him.”

After graduation, Nino plans to enroll at the Navy’s post-graduate school
in Monterrey, Calif., to study military defense strategies. His career goal
is to work in the State Department as an intelligence analyst. In the
interim, Nino is battling the books half a world away.

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