Women Veterans Describe Transition From Military Life to College


Four women veterans shared their stories during a current panel discussion at UT Dallas. From left: JoHanna Martinez BA’15, a Marine Corps veteran who develops recruitment strategies at AT&T; Veronica Jimenez, assistant director of the Military and Veteran Center at UT Dallas and a Texas Army National Guard combat veteran; Sandy Fusco, a former Navy flight officer who’s a senior director of risk management for Capital One Auto Finance; and Lisa Adams, director of the Military and Veteran Center and a former Air Force pilot.
When Air Force veteran Bibiana Ojeda first came to The University of Texas at Dallas to take a look at business management, she overlooked the camaraderie that came with being within the navy. Getting related at the Military and Veteran Center (MVC) gave her a extra experience of belonging.

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“You without a doubt don’t have that equal camaraderie whilst you transition out. You’re on your personal. It’s helped me being here at UT Dallas and assembly different veterans,” said Ojeda, who worked in a B-fifty two flying squadron and is now president of the UT Dallas bankruptcy of Student Veterans of America.

“I do have my pals returned domestic, but what I’ve been through and what they’re going via is completely distinctive. They’re at a one-of-a-kind level of their lifestyles. So it’s best to be here at UTD and produce other scholar veterans. We’re all going thru this together,” she stated.
Ojeda and other girls veterans currently shared their views at an “Honoring Those Who Served” panel dialogue. The occasion, sponsored by the MVC and the Galerstein Gender Center, gave the ladies an opportunity to proportion their stories in transitioning from the navy to university lifestyles and careers.

Veronica Jimenez, the MVC’s assistant director, said she didn’t receive the kind of aid that UT Dallas now offers pupil veterans — including peer advising, networking and profession gala’s — whilst she enrolled after her carrier and earned her bachelor’s and grasp’s ranges in social work at East Texas State University (now Texas A&M-Commerce). Jimenez is a Texas Army National Guard fight veteran with deployments in help of Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Jump Start and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

“Coming home from Iraq, I did now not need to be around humans. My social abilities lacked a touch bit. I recollect questioning I need to get returned obtainable,” she stated.

When Jimenez was in college, her love of dancing brought on her to take the first steps toward getting worried with a pupil-led social organization. She in the end have become president of her network college’s salsa club and later took an on-campus job at the college she transferred to.

“Use your resources to the fullest,” Jimenez said. “As a scholar popping out of the navy, had I had extra assets and community there, I wouldn’t have felt so on my own within the technique.”

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Faculty individuals can assist by remembering that not each student is a traditional student, stated Marine Corps veteran Mattie Watts. A former aviation electronics technician, Watts is running on her bachelor’s diploma in toddler mastering and improvement at UT Dallas.

“I become taking standard chemistry, and I remember a classmate announcing, ‘I recollect this from AP Chem.’ Well, the last time I took chemistry become 2010. It become very overwhelming,” Watts said. “Sometimes professors talk as if they’re speakme to students clean out of high school. I needed to work two times as hard to just seize returned up.”

On the other hand, girls veterans carry some difficult-earned blessings to the study room, Watts stated. For example, they’re used to proving themselves in a male-ruled environment. Watts stated having to supervise men of higher rank whilst serving as a technician on an F/A-18 fighter jet.

“It turned into a regular conflict of me having to prove myself as a girl in a male-dominated field. When I did come to college, the simplest words I wanted to mention changed into ‘I’m a girl Marine.’ The appreciate is automated,” Watts stated.

Military experience also advantages ladies veterans after they input the place of work, stated Marine Corps veteran JoHanna Martinez BA’15, who develops recruitment strategies at AT&T to draw and maintain military veterans.

“Most folks who try this paintings are men. To have the ability to say ‘I’m a Marine’ is usually amusing. Certainly no person ever guesses that. Being capable of trade perceptions is the quality part of it,” she said. “When they find out I’ve served, and mainly what branch, it’s nearly like they get apprehensive. It’s like a shift in energy. There’s a credibility and an amount of admire that comes with that.”

Women veterans additionally recognize how to take direct comments with out getting defensive, said Sandy Fusco, a former venture commander and Navy flight officer who is a senior director of chance control for Capital One Auto Finance in Plano. Fusco serves at the MVC Community Advisory Council.

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“In the civilian world, it’s very uncommon to get comments that’s direct and honest. I’m surely capable of take that kind of comments and listen and listen it. I credit my army revel in for that,” she stated.