Ashley Walker, a United States Marine veteran and University of Nevada, Reno student, was the recipient of the Student Veteran's Scholarship from the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 989. The scholarship is one of three specifically awarded to veterans from the military services currently pursuing a degree at the University, Truckee Meadows Community College or Western Nevada College.
"For me, this scholarship shows that people care about me and about the sacrifices I have made," Walker said. "They are willing to support my success after having put others before myself. I am very thankful."
Walker previously served two combat deployments to Iraq as a special communications signals collection operator and analyst. Now, she is a student at the University in pursuit of a degree in criminal justice and works at the Washoe County Jail. Walker intends to graduate in May 2015 and pursue a career in the CIA, FBI or the National Security Agency.
"To me this scholarship means that I can focus more on getting a 3.5 grade-point average," Walker said. "It will help me afford the costs that come with a surgery I needed and not skip a beat when it comes to school."
"The Vietnam Veterans of America have been instrumental in supporting recent veterans in pursuit of education both here at the University and community colleges," Terina Caserto, director of Veteran Services at the University of Nevada, Reno, said. "They raise funds to help offset expenses for these students, they attend events we hold on campus and lend overall support to our students."
The Vietnam Veterans of America chapter partnered with the Wolf Pack Veterans, a student-run chapter at the University promoting community involvement, to finance the three $1,000 scholarships. Funds were raised by selling raffle tickets for three 50Cc scooters. All registered student veterans attending local colleges were interviewed for consideration.
The scholarship for Western Nevada College was split between students Richard Valach and Joe Alton. A winner from Truckee Meadows Community College has yet to be selected.
"The scholarship is a great opportunity for the student veterans of the University to interact and work with our fellow veterans in the community," Wolf Pack Veterans President Zack Totans said. "The members of the VVA Chapter 989 are outstanding individuals and a great example of the unity that exists between veterans of all generations. On behalf of all of the members of Wolf Pack Veterans, I would like to personally thank the members of the VVA Chapter 989 for their dedication and support of student veterans at the University of Nevada, Reno."
Reno's Vietnam Veterans of America is one of 600 chapters in the national service organization dedicated to serving Vietnam-era veterans and families. Their founding principle is to unite veterans from all generations by hosting community events and sponsoring awards, such as the Student Veteran's Scholarship.
The Wolf Pack Veterans organization, established at the University in 2006, actively seeks to support returning veterans pursuing an education. Learn more about the Wolf Pack Veterans.