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SVA Voices • Omar Andrews:
Student Veterans of America prides itself on celebrating the diversity of the many student veterans that make up our chapters across the country. In celebration of Black History Month, and in recognition of the countless contributions of black student veterans past and present, we celebrate their stories of success. Omar Andrews is an Active Duty Marine currently working towards his Bachelor’s in Political Science at the University of Southern Maine.
Omar says, “the best part about being a student veteran is the amount of opportunities available. For those willing to look there are numerous resources that can be used to not only attain degrees but also have incredible experiences.” Omar credits The Husky Veterans and the Veteran Services Offices for being, “a rock in my transition to civilian life,” he continues, “coming from the Marine Corps infantry, command structure was important. The Veterans Services Coordinator, the Chapter President, and other student veterans filled roles that helped me navigate life after the military.”
After being introduced to Student Veterans of America by former Husky Veterans Chapter Leader and fellow veteran Camden Ege, Omar speaks on the benefits of working with SVA, “The obvious benefit is the ability for student veterans to engage on campus and in their communities in tangible ways. SVA also offers multiple resources for career development and the networking opportunities to establish careers after higher education. The benefits that are not obvious are the connections made with other student veterans, which are relationships that I will carry throughout my life.”
Husky Vets on stage at Natcon 2018, San Antonio
The Husky Veterans Chapter participated in Natcon 2018’s National Chapter Business Plan Competition where it placed second in front of a “Shark Tank” style panel, “Do your best to find a passion that can drive your education and career path, it sounds cliché but it's the best way to stay motivated. Find a support structure through family, friends, veterans groups, VA, etc. Realize the values that you are bringing with you out of the military, many of the intangible skills gained through service will make you successful after.”
Husky Vets receive the second place award.
Looking ahead, Omar plans on continuing his work in veterans’ advocacy by shaping public policy for not only veterans but for all service members and their families, “The advocacy work that I am pursuing involves developing an internship program for student veterans within the VA and addressing the lack of borrower protections regarding student loans in Maine. The internship program is designed to assist the VA fill the 35,000 employment vacancies within the healthcare system. I am building the pilot program which will allow student veterans to intern with the VA while gaining education benefits. This would bolster employment efforts without interrupting the degree plan of the student veteran In Maine I am advocating for a bill that would protect student loan borrowers from predatory practices and non-responsive service, Maine LD 1507, An Act To Establish a Student Loan Bill of Rights To License and Regulate Student Loan Servicers. This is a regulatory bill that will save Mainers millions in unnecessary fees and over payments while repaying their student loans."
SVA Voices is an ongoing campaign celebrating student veteran success. Become a part of the campaign and share your story today!