In celebration of African American History Month, SVA Voices profiles for the month of February will highlight the diversity that is the makeup of our individual chapters.
Fontaine Wilson served for six years in the U.S. Navy as a Nuclear Machinist Mate aboard the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt CVN-71. Now an undergraduate at The University of Houston, Fontaine expects to graduate in May 2016 with a B.S. in Petroleum Engineering.
Being President of the SVA chapter at University of Houston helped Fontaine transition from service to academia more effectively. "The best part of being a student veteran is starting school with a built-in family," Fontaine said. "My first day on campus, I was able to walk into the University of Houston Veteran Services Office and feel welcomed."
Meet Jonathan League. Jonathan served for three years in Iraq and Afghanistan as an aviation mechanic in the U.S. Armyand is now a student at Belmont University in Nashville, TN, where he will receive his BBA in General Business in 2016. He is also a member of the Bruin Veterans chapter at Belmont.
This past week, Jonathan attended SVA’s 2016 National Conference in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, where he enjoyed the resources at SVA Campus and learning from his peer student veterans what was working for them.
Justin Williamson served for eight years in the Marines before attending West Virginia University at Parkersburg where he is part of the Veterans Corps SVA Chapter. Once he graduates in 2017, Justin hopes to land a job within the computer information field. For now, Justin is enjoying his time as a SVA Chapter Member.
“There are many benefits to being a student veteran,” he says, “but in my opinion, being a part of the Veterans Corps SVA Chapter, and assisting other veterans, is the best part of me.”
Meet Nicholas Marinelli, a U.S. Army - National Guard Veteran and a student at the University of Massachusetts - Lowell, where he studies Chemical Engineering with a concentration in Nanomaterials. He is also a member of the UML Student Veterans Organization (SVO).
Marinelli says that "for a lot of veterans it's tough going back to school. Non-traditional students can feel out of place and have trouble making friends. The SVO provides a place where we can be ourselves and be around others that share similar experiences."
Meet Marcus , a U.S. Air Force Veteran and a student veteran who is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Civil, Environmental and Sustainable Engineering at Arizona State University. also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Masters of Education in Higher and Post Secondary Education Administration.
says he "identifies with several unique groups," the two main affiliations being Native Americans and Veterans.
"As a member of the Navajo () Nation, I have had opportunities to contact and assist others alike. Native Americans from all over the country have served in our armed forces and we share our cultural and military bonds. The best part about being a student veteran is having the ability to assist other students and share our stories."