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Student Veterans of America prides itself on inclusion and celebrating the diversity of the many student veterans that make up SVA Chapters across the country. The purpose of SVA Voices is to amplify the stories of these student veterans. During the month of March, we will be celebrating Women's History Month with stories from women student veterans.
Tahlia Burton served in the U.S. Air Force for 6 years before she returned to pursue higher education. Currently a student at Columbia University, Tahlia expects to graduate in 2017 with a B.A. in Political Science and Human Rights, and is a part of the U.S. Military Veterans of Columbia University SVA chapter, or MilVets. Before attending Columbia University, Burton was unsure about whether or not she was going to be able to make it in college. She had no idea how she was going to assimilate into her new position as a student.
"I was intimidated on so many levels when I was accepted to Columbia University," she said, "In the military whenever I moved or traveled, I always knew people who were stationed in the area, but this was completely different: I didn't know anyone in the city, and I didn't know New York – it was a very daunting prospect."
However, as she arrived for her first few weeks of school, Burton met the students that made up MilVets and was instantly put at ease as she became part of a community that helped guide her through the transition process of becoming a student veteran.
Along with this, she also gives her SVA chapter credit for helping her when it comes to making decisions about what career path she should choose. Due to all of the help that she received from her local chapter and SVA HQ, Burton highly recommends that new students seek out all that their local SVA chapter, along with SVA HQ, has to offer.
"SVA has personally helped me out in everything from my job searches to school projects," Tahlia said, "it's clear to me that SVA wants to know and help the veterans they're serving, and I truly can't say that about any other large organization."
Reflecting on the importance of Women's History Month, Tahlia is optimistic about the present and the future for women servicemembers, veterans, and leaders.
"2016 has already proven to be an incredible year for women. We have a woman who could very well become president for the first time ever, a potential first-time female UN Secretary General and brilliant women student veterans making a huge impact across the country. More and more women will serve in combat roles this year and lots of superheroines are gracing the silver screen. On top of remembering all of the incredible women who make this month so special, let's also appreciate the fact that women are making history right now—it's a great time to be a woman."
Click here to share your story with SVA Voices as we celebrate Women's History Month.