She is a devoted wife, loving mother, dedicated nontraditional student and a proud Marine Corps veteran. The senior, majoring in operations and supply chain management and minoring in management information systems, served in the Marine Corps for four years, stationed at Camp Pendleton in California. Here is her story.
Why did you join the Marine Corps and what were your duties?
I wanted to serve my country in different ways then I had before. My basic training took place in Paris Island, South Carolina. My duty station was Camp Pendleton in California, where I served as an ammunition technician. I worked mostly in logistics and supplies, and was involved with ordering, receiving, shipping and inventory. And I worked with both Marines and civilians.
Why did you choose UNC Charlotte?
First of all, I am from Charlotte! I wanted to major in business and I knew the Belk College of Business had a great reputation. I attended Central Piedmont Community College for two and a half years before serving in the military, so I transferred into UNC Charlotte as a junior. I will graduate in December!
What has it been like being a veteran student at UNC Charlotte?
Being a student veteran at UNC Charlotte has been both a challenging and enriching experience. The transition from military service to student weighed heavily on my mind during my first semester. I initially faced difficulties in connecting with my peers and limited my campus involvement to class attendance alone. However, the turning point came when I discovered the invaluable support provided by the Veteran Services Office on campus, as well as the camaraderie among fellow student veterans. This newfound connection instilled a deep sense of belonging and reassurance, which resulted from being embraced by a close-knit family. Realizing that I am not on this journey alone has been a source of immense comfort and motivation.
Tell us about your involvement with the Veteran Services Office?
I am a work study student, certifying official and serve as a Veteran Engagement Student Transition (VEST) mentor. VEST mentors help veterans coming into the University get acquainted with being a student all over again. Veterans always come in as transfer students because we have Joint Service Training transcripts issued from the military. A lot of Veterans come in lost and don't know where to start or how to choose classes. There are 10 of us that serve as VEST mentors and we are each assigned 15 to 20 students. We reach out to them every week to make sure they are doing well, we remind them of deadlines, tell them about upcoming events and be a friend for them.
As a work study and certifying official, I help answer questions veteran students have about their education benefits, how to certify, what documents they need and what departments they need to contact on campus. The Veteran Services Office truly serves as a bridge between the VA and the University.
What would you like fellow students to know about the Veteran Service Office?
I would like veteran students to know that we are here to help them. When I started at Charlotte, I didn’t know there was a Veteran Services Office, so I was doing everything on my own. I want them to feel comfortable coming into the office, sitting down with us and chatting with us. We also have the Cpl. Robert Qutub Veterans Lounge in Barnard Hall, where a lot of veterans hang out. I want veteran students to feel welcome and just know we are one family. I would like all students to know we are on campus. I want them to know that we all share a campus and we can all be united together.
What advice do you have for other veteran students?
Find a friend. Find someone you can trust and hang on to them. Also, go to events. I didn’t at first and that was a mistake I made because I didn’t get to meet other students. Being in the military separates you from civilian life and it is hard to get back to civilian life. A lot of student veterans struggle with this. Branch out to other students, and not just veteran students because when you go out in the real world, it is not going to be all veterans.