Hometown: Syracuse, New York
In which branch of the military did you serve?
United States Navy
Years of military service
Why did you choose NewSchool?
Before I enlisted, NewSchool came up on an architecture school search I was doing to continue my degree. Years later when I was stationed in San Diego, I would regularly see NewSchool from the trolley I would take about town. I would eventually meet some Alumni and after I got out, I came to an open house. It was almost like destiny.
I went to Open House, fully intent on pursuing Architecture, having done that in community college 10 years earlier. While looking around, George Welch approached me and inquired what I was looking for. I told him my story and why I was interested in pursuing architecture. He said that perhaps what I was looking to do wasn’t Architecture, but Construction Management and proceeded to sell me on the program. I signed up that day and George (unbeknownst to him) became my mentor. His understanding and guidance really got me through my transition from military into civilian life and prepared me for my future career. Even after graduation, George has been a lighthouse for myself, and many other students, Veteran and civilian alike. He himself has a son in the military and was very empathetic to all of us and our constant struggles as we attempted to become something more and better our lives. I would like to think it’s because of him and people like George, that I was able to complete my degree.
How did you apply your military experience to your education?
You don’t always get to choose who you work with, and often time personalities can clash in tense situations. The job has to get done, so being able to work through that and with difficult people to be successful was an excellent skill I was able to apply and that NewSchool only enforced with their team building.
What was your favorite thing about attending NewSchool?
I enjoyed how it was large enough to be noticed in the community but small enough that you could know who everyone is and not get lost in the crowd. It was very much like a familiar community and the comfort level in that really helped foster my educational growth.
What have you been doing since you graduated?
I currently work for UC San Diego in their Facilities Planning Department where I get to work on the owner-side of construction. A very different path than my colleagues, but one that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed.
What has been your biggest career accomplishment?
I think it is too soon to tell. Sometimes just making it to graduation is the largest accomplishment, and I am very proud of that.
How did your experience in the military and in college prepare you for your future?
Setting priorities and then coming up with a “Plan B” when reality comes knocking. Being able to think on your feet to changing situations has really benefited me.
What would you like people to know about the life of a student veteran?
We’re a family, and no matter what, we’ve always had each other’s back. We might not always see eye-to-eye, but we’ve never let each other down or failed to show up for each other.
What advice would you give to veterans who are thinking about pursuing a college education?
Do it. You’ve earned it. The hardest part is convincing yourself to go.