Gaëtan Evina – Petroleum Supply Specialist to Columbia University

Blog Post Cover - Gaëtan Evina

Tell us about yourself, Gaëtan!

Hometown: Los Angeles, California

What is your anticipated school and intended major? Computer science & mathematics at Columbia University

Fun Fact About Yourself: I have a little Yorkie named Dobby (like in Harry Potter)

What did you do in the military? Petroleum supply specialist

What was your proudest accomplishment in the military? Traveling to Europe as part of the Operation Atlantic resolve this year. I had the life changing opportunity to be part of these military activities alongside our NATO allies during this extremely difficult context. This really changed my views on the world and democracy but also made me understand how much peace is valuable and should never be taken for granted. We must always strive to maintain it because otherwise the consequences will be catastrophic as we’ve seen for the past couple of months with the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian military conflict.

What was the biggest benefit to using Service to School throughout the application process? The most important benefit to using Service to School was having a new perspective. From the very beginning of the application process I learned how not to self select because the best colleges in the world that seem unattainable to us veterans do in fact view our military background as an incredible asset that comes handy in rigorous academic environments.

What are you most excited about in regards to starting school? What’s your favorite part about the school you chose to matriculate at? I’m very excited about the Columbia Core! While it could be very uncomfortable, I can’t wait to be exposed to a plethora of different subjects taught by the some of the world’s leading specialists in their respective fields.

Why did you decide to choose this path of education? My dream is to work as an investment banker upon graduation. Our economy is becoming increasingly quantitative and computer based hence I felt that I needed a strong STEM background to increase my chances of working in that industry. Also, I’ve always been comfortable with mathematics and interested in technology so this combination (Computer Science & mathematics) was the obvious education path for me.

How has the transition been from military to civilian life? The transition to civilian life has been very smooth mostly because of the incredible veteran community here at Columbia, especially the Columbia Milvets group. They are working very hard in providing access to the tools, network and skills veterans need as they transition from active service to college and then the workforce.

What are your goals post-graduation? I’d like to work in the financial industry as an investment banker upon graduation.

Gaëtan’s advice for veterans who are applying to college

Again never self select! Seek help to prepare your application and do not forget that your military service, your story and your non-traditional background are incredible assets that can be leveraged to gain admission in the best universities in the world and pursue your dreams!

The peer-to-peer mentorship especially was extremely well tailored to my specific situation at the time (Current Service member applying for an ROTC Scholarship). From the very first phone call, my mentor was already laying down a strategy that would be chronologically adequate for me. I would absolutely recommend it to any other veteran student aiming to pursue a higher education.

Congrats again Gaëtan on your acceptance to Columbia University!


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Service to School (S2S) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that provides free college and grad school application counseling to military veterans and servicemembers.

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