Brent served as a 68W (Combat Medic) in a Ranger Battalion. He is a kinesiology / pre-med student and is also the current President of the Illini Veterans (www.illiniveterans.org); a Registered Student Organization and chapter of Student Veterans of America.
"Lean on your fellow Illini Veterans for help and with questions. Chances are at least one of us have dealt with the same problems, whether it be financial aid, registration, course material, or whatever else. The Center has become a hub for veteran activity on campus. It provides a variety of meeting spaces to suit your needs, staff willing to help with any problems, and there are often research projects that you can participate in that are focused on improving veterans' experiences."
Garrett is a retired sergeant who served in the U.S. Army and IL National Guard as an 11B (Infantryman). He was wounded during combat operations in Iraq in 2005. He is a master’s student in rehabilitation counseling.
"I chose the University of Illinois because it's a world leader in so many fields, including disability services. Being in the first group of veterans to be served by the Center is a true honor."
Melani is an undergraduate who is majoring in kinesiology. She currently serves in the U.S. Army Reserves as a 68C (Practical Nursing Specialist)
"I chose to attend Illinois because it provides me with continuing opportunities to explore; whether it's working in a lab, studying abroad, or joining one of our many diverse Registered Student Organizations. My advice to new student veterans is don't be afraid to get involved. Yes, you are a different student, but this is a different university that welcomes students like us!"
Patricia is currently finishing her master's degree in social work while serving in the Air National Guard. She is the former President of the Illini Veterans and is completing an internship with the Department of Veterans Affairs.
"Advocate for yourself and other military connected students. You're going to make mistakes and you will struggle at certain points; it's part of life. The Center truly embodies a spirit of camaraderie. That's what I miss the most about the military, being able to share conversations with a group of people who are willing to take the lead and get things done."
Caleb is an undergraduate majoring in international business administration. He is a former infantryman who served four years in the U.S. Army in the 101st Airborne and completed two deployments to Afghanistan.
"A month after my second tour, I had moved into the campus area and started classes, all the while thinking, this is going to be a breeze compared to everything I've done in the past four years. I didn't fully respect that this experience would be wholly different, and challenge me in ways impossible to anticipate. So I say this: begin to accept learning as a way of life, rather than merely an academic process."