Student Veteran Stories

Every veteran has a story

At UW Bothell, we’re proud to help our student veterans as they pursue their academic career. There are more than 200 student veterans at the university. Here are a few of their stories.

May Azcarraga

As a military veteran student, I am thankful for the tremendous support that was given by the University of Washington-Bothell. I’ll always hold my experiences with various student groups such as the Student Veteran Association (SVA) and Happiness Development (HappDev), with inspiring peers that kept motivating me to be involved on campus. I also credit Veteran & Military Resources Office as they made me feel like a family member as I spent a lot of my time with them as my advisor and as one of the VA Work Study students. I learned a lot from everyone and gained confidence in my new career path in technology.

Natasha McEwen

My time at UW Bothell is a time I will never forget. I am a Navy Veteran, a proud mother of three children, and a former military spouse. I had been discharged from the Navy in 2012 and attended a few colleges as a Navy spouse until 2021 and none stood par or above to UW Bothell. From my writing test that was required for entry into the Business program to my final days attending in-person and online classes because of the COVID pandemic – I had many friends, mentors, and our number one advocate from Veteran & Military Resources Office helping me and guiding me along the way. The Vet Center on campus was constantly full of laughter, community, and acceptance that I longed for after my military service. Veterans were constantly helping out other veterans in their coursework as well as participating in recreational events outside of the classroom together. Now I have my Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with an Accounting Concentration hanging on my wall in my office, but I have more memories than I can count advocating for our brothers and sisters as a former SVA officer and work-study student in the Vet Center at UW Bothell that I will always cherish.

Scott Shirley

The SVA and VRC were a critical part to my college education. Not only did they connect me with other veterans on campus, they provided me with the resources to succeed. My first year, I was just an SVA member. My second year, I was the SVA secretary. My third year, I was the SVA president. Each provided me with valuable experiences that has led me to be successful.

Additionally, being involved with the National Student Veterans Association has helped me grow as an individual and student leader. From the leadership Institute in Washington DC, the national conference in Los Angeles, and my involvement with the national chapter directly led to my $10,000 Google-SVA STEM scholarship.

It is unfortunate that during my senior year as president, the SVA fell by the wayside due to remote learning and COVID-19. However, I am optimistic now that the school is moving back to in person classes and the SVA will be revitalized better than ever. As a veteran, alumni, and former UW Bothell SVA member, I will continue to be a resource for those students who wish to continue on the chapter.

Jessica Ceplina

During my first year at the University of Washington Bothell, I didn’t even know the campus had a Student Veterans Association. I saw how much reach and involvement the two other campuses had and longed to have that at our campus. The following year, Rosa Liu, Assistant Director of Veteran & Military Resources Office, reached out to a few of the veterans on campus and notified us that if people didn’t step up to become officers, the SVA would not exist. I knew that was my chance to revive the SVA and put our campus on the map! I was elected Treasurer of the SVA, and also ran our social media platforms. To make our association known on campus, especially visible to the veterans on campus who didn’t know about us, I created T-shirts to handout to veterans and non-veterans during Welcome Week. Later in the year I also created tumblers to give out in the VRC when people stopped in to get coffee. The other officers and I also promoted veteran hangouts and outings during our time to build comradery. Having the VRC aided us in growing the SVA, it provided a space for veterans to meet one another. I am very appreciative of my time spent at the University of Washington Bothell and hope that the SVA continues.

Ben Wiselogle

As a six-year veteran of the US Navy, I wasn’t sure what to make of my UW Bothell experience initially. However, I soon came to realize that the key to an enriching experience would be to immerse myself as much as possible in the UWB family. Joining and then volunteering for a leadership role with the Student Veteran’s Association on campus, actively supporting other organizations I believed in like the human rights student group, and utilizing the various resources on campus such as Career Services really set me up for success post-graduation. Through Career Services, I was able to develop an internship in Leogane, Haiti, and ultimately earned an on-campus position as an Assistant Career Advisor. All of these experiences plus the very challenging IAS coursework from the Global Studies program allowed me to build a competitive portfolio.

Regrettably, the one thing that I did let slide through my time as an undergrad was my career search. I was so busy being involved on campus (I think “balance” is the idea to strive for), that I neglected to really engage in any sort of concerted job exploration. Due to networking with my mentor in Career Services, I did find employment as a Product Support Specialist with a software firm, and although it did pay the bills and I was grateful for that, my heart wasn’t in it. Because of this disconnect, I maintained my relationships with non-profits like All Hands Volunteers that I had worked with in the past in Haiti and domestically. Eventually, after working with Natalia Dyba in Merit Scholarships over eight months, I followed my passion and applied to a master’s program at the University of Cambridge in England, and was accepted. So I went from graduating with really no plan at all to being accepted into the program of my dreams. For me, the key was to stay engaged in the things I care about, keep relationships open with professors and the UWB family, and don’t lose hope. As long as you keep improving and challenging yourself, doors will open for you.

Dylan D’entremont

After almost 5 years in the US Navy, I returned to the Bothell area to attend the University of Washington, Bothell’s Master of Arts in Policy Studies Program. With the support of the Student-Veteran Association (SVA) and UWB’s great Veteran & Military Resources Office, I felt like I had the institutional and peer support I needed to successfully complete any program of study. At one point the university even went above and beyond the call of duty to get me a merit scholarship when my GI Bill® benefits would not cover fees associated with one of my classes. Through the UWB I got a great internship doing education research and really fell in love with K-8 education. I came back to UWB to get my teaching certification and I plan on using the connections I’ve made here at UWB and the proven acumen of the Career Services to get a great job as a public school teacher. The UWB has been a very supportive environment for me as a student veteran and I am very proud to call myself an alumni. I would recommend this campus to any veteran and I would strongly recommend that incoming student-veterans take advantage of on-campus clubs like the SVA (and others through Student Engagement & Activities) and all the great services offered by Career Services  at UW Bothell.

John Phillips

One month prior to the day I began classes at UW Bothell, I got off active duty orders for a deployment to Iraq. One month after graduating, I was off to my next deployment in Southeast Asia. Pursuing a double major in IAS/Global Studies and Interdisciplinary Art with a minor in Human Rights was an invaluable way to compliment my global experiences with theoretical understanding and creative reflection. The interdisciplinary model facilitates learning across disciplines and courses in a way that reflects the complexities and interconnectedness of career fields, society, and our world. Although I started at UWB with the notion that my Bachelors Degree would be the culminating event of a long and non-traditional career as a community college student, the support and success I enjoyed at Bothell gave me the confidence and intellectual curiosity to purse a graduate degree. I am currently enrolled at Seattle University, earning a Master of Arts in Education, Adult Education and Training. As a future educator, I intend to facilitate the kind of learning and intellectual growth in content areas that were modeled for me by UW Bothell IAS faculty.

Sean Alley

After serving 4 years in the US Navy, I returned to UW Bothell to complete my Bachelors Degree in IAS/Global Studies. My academic curriculum enabled me to focus on the characteristics of globalization and global business–an area of study that led me to work for the largest online retailer in the world. I currently lead multiple teams of 90+ direct reports to guarantee accuracy and adherence to quality standards for distribution. On a daily basis I develop performance goals and objectives to achieve customer promise expectations, ensuring that consumers are able to purchase whatever they want, whenever they want—linking supply and demand with a simple click of a mouse. Fortunately, the translation of my academic emphasis into the job sector came with ease as the career center worked with me in the months leading up to my graduation. Thanks to the dedication and help of UWB Career Services, my transition into a very challenging job market was seamless. From resume review, to interview prep, to submissions on “Huskyjobs”, my job placement was proudly conducted entirely on the UWB campus. For students: I would recommend opening a dialogue with Career Services as early as you can. Many juniors and seniors under-utilize the most up-to-date resources that the Career Services has to offer. It often takes 6 months to fully prepare a working resume that effectively addresses your strengths as a job candidate.

Gabriel Batlle

When I first arrived at orientation, I remember feeling so overwhelmed by the very idea of college and the new world I was stepping into. The longer I’ve been at UW Bothell, though, the more I’ve realized just how wonderful learning can be, and so many people at this wonderful schoolwork hard to make that possible. My professors have been kind, hardworking, and approachable. The tutors at the QSC have saved me more times than I can count (physics was a doozy!). One of the services that was most instrumental in easing my nerves, though, was Veteran & Military Resources Office. They have been so kind and accommodating to me and my family. They worked so hard for us to get the most from our benefits and is always forthright, helpful, and kind. Veteran & Military Resources Office helped my veteran parents navigate our benefits completely unprompted when they had no idea of the options available or where to start! I am unbelievably grateful to them for that. UW Bothell really is a wonderful school. So wonderful, in fact, that one of my younger brothers is going to be starting here as well! I would highly recommend Veteran & Military Resources Office to any and all veterans and their families.

Matt Bennett

After Spending 5 years in the US Army as a Human Intelligence Collector I came to UWB to get a personal in-class experience with a degree in Global Studies. After one year I changed my major to Electrical Engineering and am starting that in the fall of 2013. My first quarter at UW Bothell I found two great programs outside of the classroom that were offered. The Student Veterans Association and the Debate Society. Both have helped me grow personally and give in positive ways. Through debate I am able to challenge myself on a collegiate level and compete against other schools in a truly cross discipline sport. Debate has helped me become a much better public speaker, better at rhetoric, and has helped me stay up to date on world issues. Through the SVA I have been able to meet other veterans in and out of my classes. In addition, I was able to work on raising money for the Veteran’s Archway, a memorial to the service all student veterans have done. I currently am also a Recreation Supervisor with student life. As a Recreation Supervisor I have been able to be involved in another one of my passions, sports. I currently run, organize, and promote all of the recreation activities on campus. This includes intramural sports, special events, and off campus excursions.