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SVA Voices • Latashia White:
As a part of our mission in aiding veterans with their transition into higher education and civilian life, SVA shares the stories of student veterans through ourSVA Voices campaign, in the hopes that through storytelling, we can change the narrative surrounding veterans, highlight their successes and inspire the next generation of student veterans.
Latashia White is a U.S. Air Force Veteran, currently working as the Benefits Coordinator at UMass Lowell Veteran Services, while also pursuing a Bachelor's of Science in Information Technology with a Business Minor.
Latashia said of her SVA chapter, UMass Lowell Student Veterans Organization, "they provided me with the tools needed to be a better person when I first started school and was lost, soft spoken and reserved. One day a fellow veteran nominated me to attend a leadership retreat, because he observed some of my ability and wanted to provide an outlet for me to grow, and from there I slowly started to expand my opportunities."
Latashia eventually became an officer within her SVA chapter, eventually taking on the responsibility of Vice President. As a chapter leader, she has worked to create events for the student veterans on her campus from fundraising at school hockey games to community service with The Mission Continues and Raytheon's Young Employee Success Network (YESNET), that allowed her chapter to grow in membership, while generating new partnerships for future collaboration.
For Latashia, her drive and passion comes from "being able to give back to the community and impact the lives of others, particularly veterans who are transitioning out of service and into college, who may be feeling lost and are looking for that spark to keep moving forward. It's amazing to be able to empower and encourage each other to do better and grow from within." She also added, "I have seen countless veterans in school go from being down on their luck to walking away with their degree, by simply providing them with resources from within the campus and veteran community."
Latashia says that SVA has given her countless connections, and resources to help other veterans figure out a career path, and assist them in finding mentors that can provide them with guidance. She also praises SVA's National Conference (NatCon) for bringing together veterans that want to make a change and help inspire best practices that ultimately sets them up for success. "Veterans come into NatCon focused and driven and leave inspired and ready to go back to their campus and hit the ground running," she added.
Upon graduation, Latashia plans to pursue her Master's Degree in Social Work, while continuing her work with student veterans. To other student veterans out there and SVA chapter leaders, Latashia says to "stay the course and don't quit on yourself when times get hard, and always remember why you started the journey and who helped you to get there." SVA Voices is an ongoing campaign celebrating student veteran success. Become a part of the campaign and share your story today!