By Kellie Kennedy
Agnieszka (Aggie) Wajda initially pursued dreams of becoming an interior designer, but realized that she had a different calling. She joined the U.S. Navy, which opened her eyes to skills and talents that she didn’t know that she possessed.
Her work in the military also increased her interest in continuing her higher education so that she could achieve her dream of becoming a police officer. In just a few months, Aggie will achieve this dream. Learn more about Aggie’s experience at National Louis University (NLU) and the Veterans Program. Continue reading
As a combat medic, Derrick Mitchell sometimes had to run into battle to pick up fallen soldiers and administer emergency treatment. Now, pursuing his Master’s in Health Services Administration at NLU, he plans to continue assisting with medical care—without the combat—by working in healthcare or hospital administration.
Serving our country was almost a given for Mitchell, 32, who started at NLU in April, 2014. He has five family members who served, including his parents and grandfather. In this recent interview, he told us why service was a life adventure, and how it’s shaping his education and career. Continue reading
NLU’s Veterans Program is getting national attention for its results.
Michael Schindler, a columnist for MyEdmondsNews.com, an online news partner of The Seattle Times, referenced NLU in a column about offering military-connected students resources to help them succeed.
“Studies show that when community-based resources collaborate with college-based services, veteran involvement and graduation success rates improve considerably,” he wrote May 31. Continue reading
After serving 20 years in the U.S. Navy, Pilar Arteaga is preparing for her second act. She returned to Chicago in the summer of 2014 and began attending NLU in the fall. She is on track to graduate in the winter of 2015 with a B.S. in Business Administration. Her 11-year-old son Nathan previously embraced the life of a military child, but has settled in to living in Chicago and excelling in school. Pilar talked with us about why she went into the Navy two weeks after high school graduation, where she traveled and what she plans to do with her degree.
What prompted you to enter the military?
I struggled academically and was having some problems at home when I graduated high school. I decided to enter the military two weeks after my graduation day. I planned to serve for about four years, but that timeframe extended to 20 years. Continue reading
(Image courtesy of Mike Purgatori)
NLU Student veteran Carida “Pilar” Arteaga, right. stands with her brother Jesus Arteaga.
Carida “Pilar” Arteaga, National Louis University student and veteran of the U.S. Navy, was invited to participate in the pre-game coin toss for the Northern Illinois University (NIU) vs. University of Toledo football game on Veterans Day, Nov. 11.
Arteaga, a Chicago native, entered the Navy in 1994 and after six deployments she retired as Petty Officer 1st Class in July 2014. Arteaga is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Management.
Joining Arteaga is her brother Jesus Arteaga, a student at NIU. Mr. Arteaga served a total of eight years in the Navy as a Hospital Corpsman.
(Image courtesy of Mike Purgatori)
Players from NIU and Toledo huddle around the coin toss during the pre-game ceremony.
Enjoy burgers, a beer tent and live music, meet other military-connected students and find out about organizations which offer veterans help and resources at a “Fall In” back-to-school celebration Thursday, Sept. 18. Bring your family and drop in anytime between 2 to 8 p.m.
National Louis University is sponsoring the event at Cantigny Park, 1s151 S. Winfield Road, Wheaton, and Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth is lending her support. Student veterans from all Chicago-area universities, and veterans thinking about pursuing higher education, are all welcome to attend for social time, networking and mentoring. Hamburgers, hot dogs, baked beans, coleslaw, water and soda will be free, as is the parking; the only charge is for beer.
Tell us about yourself.
I grew up on the West side of Chicago. My parents were very strict, so that helped with my transition to the military. Before I entered the military, I went to college for one year on a basketball scholarship. However, I lost my scholarship and started working at UPS to earn money to attend school. I decided that path wasn’t for me at the time and chose to enlist in the military.
More than half of today’s military service members are married, and nearly 2 million children live in military families, which is a significant increase from years past when roughly 70 percent were single. With the stress that military life can bring to families, including periodic absences for duty, frequent moves, childcare issues, etc., nearly half of military marriages end in divorce. This stress also can be elevated when troops transition to civilian life and pursue higher education. With this in mind, the following are a few tips to help build and maintain a strong military family.
When service members enroll in the armed forces, they sign a code of conduct in which they pledge to give their lives in defense of the country if called upon to do so. As U.S. citizens who benefit from the sacrifice our service members make every day, it is important to ask ourselves what we can do to support them — especially as more troops return from active duty. It is critical not only to identify advocates for them, but to be an advocate who helps them transition to civilian life. What is our code of support for military troops and veterans?