Iraq veteran starts new career with Loyola degree
by Eric Taveras
My life has provided the opportunity to make a difference in many lives. I remember the time I spent as a Combat medic in the U.S. Army when I served while deployed to Iraq. My duty was to protect and care for the soldiers of my unit and the people of Iraq. I mention this because St. Ignatius of Loyola was also a soldier and after suffering leg wounds in battle, he faced a long road to recovery and chose to dedicate his life to service. In August 2009, I was medically retired from the U.S. Army due to injuries I sustained during my deployment and when my military career came to an end, I knew my only choice was to continue my education so I can do more for other Veterans and continue the Veteran’s mission of, “being a better American.”
After speaking to other Veterans, I was told Loyola was one of the universities that offered the most help and fostered an environment that allowed a smoother transition to school and civilian life. SCPS provides advisors that can help the Veteran choose a degree plan that provides an optimal opportunity for success at Loyola and toward an actual career. The scheduling and format of the SCPS classes suit the busy lives of the adult student.
Like most Veterans, one of the biggest obstacles to attending school is the burden of finances. To be able to go to a university that can help keep those costs down and provide a smoother transition between semesters is very important. Streamlining the GI bill certification process and allowing the certification to take place when classes begin made the admission almost seamless. Additionally, the Career Development Office and the Tutoring center were services I utilized that helped me make the Dean’s list twice and find an internship with the Department of Energy.
Loyola and SCPS helped facilitate an environment of true learning by removing the barriers [so that it is possible to obtain a degree and that [students] may enhance or begin a new career. General Douglas McArthur said, “A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent.” The experiences and lessons learned while in the U.S. Army and at Loyola University Chicago have further instilled my sense of duty and loyalty to this country. The discipline, teamwork and strong work ethic are skills I learned while in the service but have been further enhanced with an education from Loyola. The values mentioned by General McArthur have helped me become the leader I aspire to be and now with an education from Loyola I can continue my journey and achieve my goals to become a better American.