How Presenting At NatCon Changed My Experience as a Student Veteran
Student Veterans of America | June 15, 2017

Written By: Ms. Becky Patterson, Strategic Engagement Coordinator

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Last November, Kiersten Downs asked me to join her panel, Women Student Veterans: Taking the Lead at the 2017 National Conference. I abhor public speaking and knew I would be nervous, but I also realized the importance of sharing my voice. So terrified, I said yes.

My role at the National Conference snowballed from there, and I ended up leading three sessions in addition to sitting on Kiersten's panel. It. Was. Empowering. By the time the awards banquet rolled around on Saturday night, I was on a high that I didn't come down from for nearly a month. Despite my nerves, I was able to present multiple times on topics that were important to me.


Our 2017 National Conference was the first time we opened a call for proposals, and the improvement in the quality of our breakout sessions was palpable. The diversity of session types increased. Sessions addressing woman veteran interests jumped from 1 in 2016 to 5 in 2017. The strength of our programming was a direct reflection of our amazing chapters, partners, and other stakeholders. We could not have done it without your help.

I was recently offered a teaching assistantship for this upcoming fall semester, and accepted without hesitation. I still don't enjoy presenting in front of an audience, and doubt I ever will. But presenting at the SVA National Conference has given me the confidence that I can do it.

Our call for proposals is open once again, and will close next Friday. This year, I am submitting two proposals for the SVA track, and expect that I will be leading multiple sessions again. Who's ready to join me? Help us define our future!



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