11 Student Veteran Dads You’ll Want to Hear from this Father’s Day!
Student Veterans of America | June 16, 2017

This Sunday, we celebrate dads across the country, and at SVA, we particularly celebrate those student veterans who are juggling college, being a dad, while often working a part or full-time job. What we know from our research is that almost half of student veterans are parents while in school and more than 16% of those are single parents. This weekend, as we celebrate student veteran dads, we want to showcase these eleven dads who are past or present student veterans. Here they share with you, their advice for their fellow student veteran dads.


Fredy Esquivel

Marine Corps Veteran •  Recently earned his BA, Public Health at University of Washington,

Unknown-1His Advice: Ensure your children are part of the college experience. Taking my kids to football games and gymnastics meets have produced lasting memories. When I think about the late nights and early mornings sacrificed away from my family, it is always nice to know my children and I share the memories of attending fun events cheering on my fellow college students.


Ammon Williams
Army Veteran • Studies Agribusiness Managerial Economics at UC Davis

Ammon Williams
His Advice: As a veteran I tend to expect a lot from myself, probably too much. I want to be the best student, get the best job, be the best dad, but in doing so sometimes I find myself overlooking the little moments. What I have come to realize, is that it is precisely those little moments that really matter. Try not to get too caught up in the big picture stuff, be present for those all-important 'little' moments that that make being a dad a 'big' deal.

Justin Williamson

Marine Corps Veteran • Studies Computer Information Technology at WVU-Parkersburg

Justin Williamson

His Advice: Take a deep breath, organize your priorities, and never lose sight of your life and goals. Ensure that you involve your little ones in your life in regards to your studies, celebrate your accomplishments with them and make sure to incorporate them in as much as possible. Finally, the last piece of advice I have for you is Disney is your friend, lean on Disney!


Bruno Moya

Marine Corps Veteran, Studies Psychology Major at UNLV

Bruno Moya

His Advice: When I started school years earlier, I remember I had an online exam and my daughter was about 5 years old. When I started the exam, she was not having it. She climbed on my back and kept asking me to play with her. That's when I realized I needed to change tactics. I then began to set dates where we would have together time and I could give her my undivided attention, I also took the time to explain the importance of my homework. When I had an important assignment, she knew that I had to focus on it and that as soon as I was done we were going to play. It really worked out.


Michael Walden

Marine Corps Veteran • Pursuing a Master of Public Health at DePaul University

Michael Walden

His Advice: Remember that a grade is just a grade. If life or parenting struggles come up that require more of your time than allows you to achieve the high marks, then you just need to realize that that is sometimes a greater accomplishment than an A.


Jake Whetstone

Army Veteran • Studies Nursing at Pasco Hernando State College

Jake Whetstone

His Advice: First I'd say set aside time for studying and for playing. Nothing hurts more than seeing those sad little eyes looking at you when you say you're busy or hearing your two-year-old start repeating to you that she's "busy" when you try to play with her. I'd also say don't be too hard on yourself for having to miss some time from the family to study. In the long-term, it pays off. I'd also say get super organized and treat your time like it's gold.


James Allen Brown Jr.

Army Veteran • Studies Accounting and Finance at University of Arkansas-Fort Smith, 

James Allen Brown Jr

His Advice: A degree is only a small portion of your life. If you have a young child, these moments are precious and essential to your lifelong relationship.


Joseph Watson
Army Veteran • Studies Computer Engineering at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Joseph Watson

His Advice: For me it's been a combination of organizing and prioritizing all things time-related. Treat school like a job and do your best to complete most daily study tasks before 5pm. Also, make sure you demonstrate integrity to your child. If you tell them you'll be right there, then do it, and if you are working, don't tell them you're busy, tell them you're working. Not everything will always work out as perfectly as we plan throughout the semester because we simply get tired, or unforeseen circumstances arise. Keep moving forward and don't be so hard on yourself, there's no technical manual on how to be a dad.


Eric Gage

Veteran of the South Dakota Air National Guard • Earned his BS in History and Political Science from The University of South Dakota • Director of Programs, Student Veterans of America

ERic Gage
His Advice: I'll keep this short and sweet, prioritizing your time and planning is everything!


Barrett Bogue

Marine Corps Veteran • Earned his BA in Political Science and an MS in Higher Education Administration and Policy Studies from University of Tennessee • Vice President of Public Relations and Chapter Engagement, Student Veterans of America 

Barrett Bogue

His Advice: My wife and I have a delightful six-month old daughter. I'm grateful for those long nights as a U.S. Marine and the sleep deprivation they provided. That came in handy the first three months after Annabelle was born. The most valuable asset we own is our time. Fathers and student veterans can give no greater gift to their children than by sharing it with them.

James Schmeling
Air Force Veteran • Earned his BA in Political Science from Iowa State University and a J.D., Law from University of Iowa College of Law • Executive Vice President, Student Veterans of America

James Schmeling

His Advice: Making time for success in both education and fatherhood is incredibly hard, but incredibly important. I was divorced and lived 150 miles from my sons while I was an undergraduate, starting just five months after I left the Air Force. Being a father was important to me, and every weekend I drove from Iowa State University in Ames to Spencer, Iowa, to be there for my two sons. I am grateful for the chance to have kept them in my life during my education, and even more so now. My oldest son just had his first son, and is in college changing to nursing. I hope he will even better balance his education with his son than I was able to. My middle son visits me when he travels through the DC region for his job, and my daughter is at college at the University of Iowa, another of my alma maters.


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