APPLETON, Wis. (NBC 26) — While serving as a Democratic state lawmaker during three terms, Amanda Stuck was also working to pay off around $120,000 worth of student loans.
"I actually was a single mom who put myself through school, which is a big reason why I have so much student debt," she said.
The Appleton native has a master's degree and still owes about $80,000.
"I had to borrow in order to get through school in order to be able to get to be in a position to support myself and my son," the former state representative said.
Now out of government office, Stuck found a new job that allows her to pay part of the tuition back fast. The 39-year-old is in the process of joining the U.S. Army Reserve.
"It won't erase all of it, but certainly a big chunk of it," she said. "I think that's really important and will be very helpful."
According to the Appleton Recruiting Station, Stuck will receive $50,000 for her student debt.
"I'd probably say like 80 percent of the people that join are for education benefits, myself being one of them," Sergeant First Class and Station Commander Andrew Baldwin said.
"Certainly, I know I do have to go to basic training," Stuck said. "I will be gone for that for awhile. But then after that, I will be serving here locally."
Stuck is unsure of her start date.
"I [feel] certainly a little bit scared just of the unknown, especially given the political climate of our world today," she said.
But she's told her test scores will allow her to pick any job within the Reserve.
"It still allows me to have a regular full-time job, still be with my family for the most part, but still be able to serve part-time," Stuck said.
From politician to future soldier...
"I get the chance to challenge myself, serve my country and just learn and grow personally as well," Stuck said.
She recently served as a member of the Appleton Area School District Board of Education, and finished after choosing not to run in this spring's election.
According to the governor's task force on student debt's final report, the median student loan debt statewide is about $17,000.