Kiersten Downs served for over 8 years in the Air Force and New York Air National Guard where she was deployed three times over seas during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science, a Master’s degree in Conflict Analysis and Resolution with a focus in Organizational Conflict Management, and a graduate certificate in Women and Gender Studies. Currently, Kiersten is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Applied Anthropology at the University of South Florida in Tampa. Her dissertation research is a mixed methods study on women Veterans and re-entry post military service. Her fieldwork is examining the impact of military masculinity on re-entry and the programmatic inclusion and exclusion of women with regards to Veterans services. Kiersten's past work experience includes four years as a congressional staffer, and over five years of experience working in project management, data collection, and research analysis on military Veteran centered projects dealing with Veteran transition and reintegration, suicide prevention, military sexual trauma, and employment needs. She is currently working as a Health Science Research Assistant with the Center of Innovation on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (CINDRR) at the James A. Haley VA in Tampa, Florida. She was selected as the 2013 national Student Veteran of the Year for Student Veterans of America for her advocacy and fundraising efforts on behalf of the organization. She has been an active member of SVA since 2012, serving as past president of the USF Student Veterans Association and a member of the SVA National Student Council.