UNCG athlete Paul Katam, winner of NCAA first-team accolades in track, as well as earning All-Southern Conference academic honors, has decided to enroll in the U.S. Army, as reported by the News & Record. After switching from a pre-nursing to a biology major, he now has graduate school to think about, which put a different spin on his plans for education.

“The Army is going to pay for me to finish my undergrad and to go to graduate school,” Katam said by phone recently.

A native of Kenya, Katam was scheduled to graduate in December 2014, but has withdrawn from his classes. He was on his way to Fort Sill in Oklahoma, where he planned to join the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest program, which welcomes certain legal aliens with backgrounds as physicians, nurses or in foreign languages. The program also promises expedited U.S. citizenship. The nine-week program will culminate in further training in San Antonio, Texas. There is a possibility for future deployment.

Katam leaves behind a strong running legacy, notably his second-place finish in the NCAA championships’ 10,000-meter race in June after a win a couple of weeks earlier in the NCAA’s East regional in Greensboro.