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Photo: Jeffrey Ray O'Dell

Q&A with a U.Va. Veteran

  1. Please describe your experience in the military as well as your class status at UVa and major:
    3rd Year
    Mechanical Engineering
    Engineering Science – Materials Concentration
    I've served 5 years on active duty in the Army and 4 years in the Army National Guard. My military occupational specialty is a Fire Support Specialist (Forward Observer). I have done 2 tours of duty in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
  2. What attracted you to UVa?
    Both my sister and brother in law graduated from UVA, and the schools engineering program is one of the best in the nation.
  3. What is it like to be a student veteran at UVa?
    Transitioning from a military lifestyle to life as a student was not the easiest the process. I had become so accustomed to life in the military that life as a student seemed so foreign at first. When I first started school here I only know a couple of veterans on campus, and I had a really hard time connecting to the other students on campus. As I have progressed through my education, I have discovered other veteran organizations on campus such as the Military Veterans at UVA.
  4. What would you like a student-veteran to know about your experience at UVa?
    During my time at UVA, the veteran support network has grown considerably, and I have seen a lot of great individuals working to continue the growth of that network on campus. Also, as a veteran you're not alone on this campus. There are other veterans at UVA who have the same experiences and sacrifices.
  5. What has been the most helpful thing you have found at UVa to support during your time here?
    The Military Veterans at UVA has been a great organization to find and meet other veterans on campus. I have also had some great professors in the engineering school that have given me support and guided me in the right direction.
  6. What do you like about Charlottesville?
    The history of Charlottesville has definitely been one of my favorite aspects of this area.
  7. What do you like to do for fun?
    The E-School usually keeps me busy, but when I'm not deriving equations, I spend most of my free time working out or on the side of a mountain.
  8. Other things you would like for us to know about you?
    Any veterans on campus can feel free to contact me at jro2v@virginia.edu.