Hometown: Traverse City, Michigan
Fun Fact About Yourself: I am the second youngest of six boys in my family. Over the years, it has been wonderful to see my family serve Northern Michigan in many different facets of life. I hope to also someday give back to our community there.
What school are you attending and what is your concentration/major? Harvard and anticipate graduation in 2022. I am concentrating in Government and am on their Public Policy program track. My secondary field (minor) is Economics.
What did you do in the military? Fire Controlman 1st Class (FC1). As a conventional Fire Controlman aboard USS Carney (DDG 64), my primary job was to operate and maintain the 5-inch Gun Weapon System and daylight and thermal cameras for that system. A top collateral duty of mine was serving as the Assistant Public Affairs Officer, which entailed taking photos of promotion and reward ceremonies, special visits, burials-at-sea, and shipboard life.
What was your proudest accomplishment in the military? One of my proudest accomplishments in the military was serving during Operation Odyssey Lightning. Shortly before the operation, our ship helped rescue 97 Libyan migrants who had been stranded at sea without food or water. The operation itself involved our 5-inch Gun Weapon System to support coalition forces in the liberation of Sirte, Libya from ISIS in 2016. This was the first time naval gunfire was used to support combat operations during the Global War on Terrorism.
Why did you decide to pursue your school? I decided to pursue Harvard because I wanted to surround myself with some of the best and brightest minds from across the world who also had a passion for serving others and making great contributions to society. The whole Boston area is a major hub for nonprofits and academia, as well as other career fields. There are a multitude of ways to get involved in the community. By attending Harvard, I can take really interesting classes that also teach me new skills, enabling me to effectively contribute to communities wherever I go. I came to Harvard wanting to study international relations and economics. My time here has only fueled my passion for these fields.
Why did you decide to volunteer with Service to School? I decided to volunteer with Service to School because they were so supportive of me as I applied to universities. I wanted to give back by helping other veterans with their journey back to school. My Vetlink Ambassador also continues to inspire me; it has been wonderful to stay connected with him. By transferring to Harvard College from a community college, I want want to be an inspiration to those around me, veterans and nonveterans alike.
Alex’s advice to veterans considering pursuing higher education
It is never too late to finish your degree. Not everyone will have the same path toward success. Sometimes life will have twists and turns. Just because you hit an obstacle, that does not mean all hope is lost. If you set your heart and mind to it, you can accomplish seemingly impossible goals. You have to keep pushing forward, but at the same time, you also need to remember where you came from. There are many great universities filled with professors who are experts in their fields. There are many hard and soft skills students can learn in college that could equip them well for future careers.
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