To all of the veterans, active troops, and military families in the SPS community, we thank you! Returning home and making higher education a goal is not always easy.  We asked alum Armando Vega, and current student Enrique Diaz to share some of their thoughts on being student veterans.

1. What branch of the United States Military did you serve, and for how many years were you enlisted?

I was in the U.S. Navy, and I served honorably for 4 years (1994 – 1998).

2. What CUNY SPS program did you receive a degree in, when, and how has that changed your life?

I earned an MA in Labor Studies. My desire is to work in Human Resources and the Labor Relations department. My dream is to one day become the HR manager and or director of a reputable corporation.

3. Were your experiences as a student affected by also being a veteran?

Not really because I returned to school much later in life, and my classmates where older working class adults. I try to keep my veteran status private for the most part.

4. What does Veterans Day mean to you?

Veterans Day is close to being the most important day of the year next to July 4th. It is a day of remembrance for the sacrifices made by the many brave men and women that has enabled this great nation to remain free from tyranny.

5. What advice do you have for newly returning veterans?

To be resilient, and realize that the civilian world is not very kind to returning veterans, and that finding employment is very difficult right now. Keep the faith and seek help from the Veterans Administration.

Any additional thoughts?

For me to attend CUNY and earn my Masters degree was a worthwhile accomplishment, and hopefully I can use it to advance in my career.


1. What branch of the United States Military did you serve, and for how many years were you enlisted?

I served 6 years as a Religious Program Specialist (RP) with the United States Navy and 4 years as an 0111 (Administrative Specialist) with the United States Marine Corps.

2. What CUNY SPS program did you receive a degree in, when, and how has that changed your life?

Currently enrolled in the Public Administration Certificate Program, once completed, June 2013, I plan on transferring to Brooklyn College for a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. Once I have earned my degree in Political Science, I hope to use it to advance my career within City government.

3. Were your experiences as a student affected by also being a veteran?

My yearning for learning was nurtured while I was on active duty. As a veteran, I now have more time to pursue my desire to learn.

4. What does Veterans Day mean to you?

It’s a day of reflection. I think back to my time served, my friends and family who have served and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice so that I could live in a land where the only one holding me back is myself. All the opportunities are there for the taking.

5. What advice do you have for newly returning veterans?

Take advantage of any programs available to you. Use your GI Bill to further your education and make yourself more marketable. As sad as it is to say, being a veteran is simply not enough anymore to obtain a good paying job to sustain yourself and your family.

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