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Coleman Hopes Detective, Special Agent Experience Leads to FBI Career As a father, employee, husband and reservist, Student Veteran Maurice Coleman survived college on little sleep, but succeeded


Maurice Coleman, right, poses with Jimmy Wang Yang of the WWE.

Maurice Coleman, an active NLU student veteran, just graduated with his bachelor’s degree, and has an approximately 15-year record of accomplishment with the military. He hopes to parlay that into an FBI or similar career. We had a chance to ask him a few questions.

What prompted you to enter the military?

When I left high school, I wanted to do something positive. My brother was already in the military, and it was a great thing for him. I knew it would help me with school, and let me be part of something bigger than myself. I was thinking I could become an FBI agent.

Where did you serve? 

I’ve been in the National Guard and the Army Reserves. I did 10 years in the National Guard, then I switched over to the Army and have been there about four and a half years.

In 2002, when I was 19, I deployed to Iraq for seven months. I was part of the first wave after 9/11, and we had to do things from the ground up, like set up showers, for example. I remember It was 13 days before the U.S. finished our push to Baghdad. I was trying to take it all in. It was a good mission, I learned a lot. It forced you to grow up and mature at a young age.

We had one suicide, a soldier – he had a lot going on. A close friend had a rollover accident and he died, so there was a lot with that. Then I got injured in a real bad accident, and was taken by Medivac to Germany. I had injuries to my neck and back, but thanks to the grace of God, I survived.

We had camaraderie in my unit. Even though there was a lot going on, it was still life-changing. It helped to shape and change me as a young man.

Thank God you survived and recovered. What were you doing over there? 

I was a Military Policeman, so our job was to protect convoys and checkpoints, do patrols and raids, and set up security.

Then after I recovered from the injury, I was selected to be a trainer here stateside, to prepare serviceman for deployment to Iraq, Afghanistan and secondary missions on key tasks before they went overseas.


Maurice Coleman, left, poses with Ted Debiase Jr. of the WWE and SFC Frank Dutcher.

I was a staff sergeant. We evaluated about 7,000 troops from around the United States. I ensured they understood the proper doctrine  (the specific standard operating procedures, tasks, and implied tasks that are utilized to complete a mission) to do the job they’d need to do overseas.

If they weren’t ready to go overseas, we were going to retrain them.

This was in about 2008 to 2011. It was the biggest mobilization of Illinois soldiers since World War 2. We had to make sure we gave these soldiers what they needed to come home to their family members.

I was also a military police investigator, for crimes like theft, larceny, assault. The work was like that of a regular detective, but for the military.

MauriceColeman3I went to Army reserves to be a special agent with the Army, which is like NCIS but for the Army. I wanted to be challenged. It was a Missouri unit, so I had to go out of state to get that mission.

I stayed there about three and a half years, and I changed units and came up to the Illinois reserves and became a battalion crime prevention investigator. Now I’m switching jobs to become an instructor for the intelligence community.

Were you thinking about pursuing higher education while you were in the military?

School has always been a big thing for me. I’m the first in my family to get a bachelor’s degree. I told myself education was the key to everything, so I kept that mindset through everything. In order to get the job I want, I needed my bachelor’s degree.

Congratulations on graduating in June 2015! What degree did you get?


John Cena (in black t-shirt) and Holly Holly of the WWE pose for a photo with Coleman (back row, center) and his training mobilization unit.

A bachelor’s in behavioral science and minor in criminal justice. I was finishing up some course requirements over the summer, and got my diploma last month (September 2015).

As you thought about what you would like to do after the military, what led you to NLU?

A friend from the military is a paramedic/firefighter with the Chicago fire department. She said she went to National Louis and that they were supportive of veterans. That’s important because the military is a very different environment.

What challenges have you faced as you’ve pursued your degree?

I work nights as a Cook County jail correctional officer. So it’s a very hostile atmosphere. In addition, I have school, and I also have three daughters–ages 2,4 and 13. So on many days, I have been up all night at work, I go to school, then it’s time for me to pick up my daughters, and so I’d only be getting three hours of sleep a night, for months. My wife works, and is a full-time student too, so I have to give her time to be successful as well. So a lot of it is trying to stay focused, have my mental focus, because I wasn’t always getting proper rest. And I’m still military, so I had to go do a mission to Korea. It’s a lot. That’s why at graduation, it was emotional. I knew how hard it was.

Has  NLU’s veterans program been helpful to you, as a military-connected student, as you pursue your degree? If so, how?

I’ve gotten support from Paul Knudtson and Anne Gunderson and Ramon Prieto here at school. I’m the vice president of Student Veterans of America, so I work with them on that.  Anne is an expert in statistics, so she’s helped me in statistics. I also went to the Google mentorship program and redid my resume.

I also have a great support system from my wife; she’s a veteran as well. The great support system makes it easier to attain a degree and go for the next thing.

As you think about your future, where do you want to be professionally in five years?

I want to be an FBI agent or something similar, maybe DEA. I’m working on my resume and planning on grad school. It really feels good to have the bachelor’s degree. It’s an accomplishment for me and my family, and now it’s time to look at what’s next.

Student Veteran Aggie Wajda Designs Her Way To Justice Career Five years in the Navy transformed her from 'shy' to leader


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 »

After saving lives in combat, student veteran Derrick Mitchell hopes to save lives in hospitals In this Student Veteran Spotlight, Mitchell explains how military service shaped his career goals


derrick_mitchell.jpgAs 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 »

Columnist Cites NLU Veterans Program As National Model Student veterans' engagement rates, employment rates are rising

veteranschart-380x380NLU’s Veterans Program is getting national attention for its results.

Michael Schindler, a columnist for, 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 »

Meet an NLU Student Veteran: Pilar Arteaga Hopes to transfer Navy work in logistics, inventories to civilian business world


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 »

Biden Praises Student Veterans; Conference Frames Service As Career Asset SVA Stresses Need to Know What You’re Entitled To, Improving Mental Health Resources

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National Louis University student veterans and staff attended the Student Veterans Association conference with SVA CEO D. Wayne Robinson in San Antonio, Texas, in January.

NLU at SVA NatCon.jpg

National Louis University student veterans and staff attended the Student Veterans Association conference in San Antonio, Texas, in January.

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The entire delegation of student veterans from Illinois posed for a photo during the Student Veterans Association conference in San Antonio, Texas, in January.


Written by Francesca Weaver-Chaney and Anne Gunderson

More than 1,200 student veterans, including some from NLU, watched with anticipation as Vice President Joe Biden approached a conference  podium in San Antonio, Texas, to speak.

“You are the finest group of warriors the world has ever known,” he told them.

The audience of students previously and currently serving in the five branches of the military stood to applaud Biden. Many said afterward they had once again gained pride in being a part of this nation’s military. Continue reading »

NLU Student Veteran Invited To Pre-Game Coin Toss



(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.


Connect To Other Student Veterans At Back-To-School ‘Fall-In’ Event , Endorsed By Rep. Tammy Duckworth, Sept. 18



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.

Continue reading »

Meet Anthony Owens, a student in the NLU Veterans Program

shutterstock_56358946Tell 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.

Continue reading »

Building strong military families

shutterstock_177001172More 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.

Continue reading »