Paula Fortier is a retired U.S. Navy veteran with over twenty years of active service. She reported to recruit training in December 1983 after a delayed entry of several months. After "boot camp," Fortier attended an eight-week Class "A" School to become a human resources management specialist (Personnelman). She spent the majority of her naval career in the South with duty onboard two ships and several shore stations. She also enjoyed a three-year duty at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. During her final tour of duty at the Enlisted Placement Management Center in New Orleans, Fortier completed her BA in Political Science at the University of New Orleans. She coincided her military retirement with graduation in May 2004. Fortier returned to school at the University of New Orleans in 2008 and graduated with an MA in History in 2010. She continued her education with enrollment in the Ph.D. program in Urban Studies (Urban History). She plans to graduate sometime before her fiftieth birthday in 2015.