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SVA Voices • Steffen Camarato:
Steffen Camarato is a U.S. Marines veteran and a SVA chapter member at the University of Central Florida, where he is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering, expecting to graduate in May 2019. He is also the founder and chapter president of the SALUTE Veterans National Honor Society and is currently a Computer Engineering Laboratory Assistant at Valencia College.
Q: How did you first learn about Student Veterans of America?
A: I first learned about SVA via my campus Veterans Affairs office. I would submit my certificate for the GI Bill each semester and that is where I met with officers in the club.
Q: How is the SVA Scholarship significant to you?
A: SVA Scholarships gave me peace of mind. After using my GI Bill, I have been paying out of pocket for tuition. Now, I don’t have to worry about working full-time to pay for college and living expenses.
Q: What is one of the highlights of your experience as a student veteran?
A: Engaging with other student veterans. I’m lucky to have a college that has a very active Veterans Academic Resource Center and student veterans. I am able to engage with like-minded individuals and have a better experience on campus.
Q: How did your SVA Chapter help you to achieve success?
A: My SVA chapter helped me achieve success by giving me volunteering and networking opportunities. I am able to meet directly with industry professionals who are veterans themselves and discuss what I should be doing before I graduate. Also, the scholarship opportunities have greatly helped as well.
Q: Which of SVA’s resources would you recommend?
A: SVA Chapter participation. Attending social events with other student veterans really builds camaraderie and a support line for those who need it.
Q: What advice do you have for other student veterans about succeeding in school, searching for internships/jobs or applying to graduate school?
A: Reach out to all your resources – SVA, your local school’s career office and possible mentors, as well as looking beyond those means. There are great websites out there that list internships, fellowships and jobs for early and mid-career job seekers. Do not wait for someone to tell you where to look – seek out help, because the more initiative you show, the greater your chances will be at achieving your goals.
Q: What advice do you have for other student veterans about succeeding in higher education?
A: Get the degree. Put in the effort now, as it will pay off in the future – even if it’s one class at a time. Hardly anyone says that they regret ever getting a college degree.
Q: What do you want to achieve after graduating?
A: I would also like to give back to my veteran community and promote an even bigger movement of veteran support in the future.
Q: Tell us a fun fact about you:
A: I like to beat box in the shower. I think I’m pretty good at it because my dog likes to listen to it.
At Student Veterans of America (SVA) we want to share your story because every story is unique and different! We want to hear about the challenges, opportunities, and moments that ultimately led to your success as a student veteran and SVA chapter leader. Sharing your story will inspire and give hope to others. Whether you’re a current or past student veteran, we want to hear from you! Help us empower student veterans to, through, and beyond higher education. Click here to quickly and easily share your story.