Terren Wise – From Naval Nuclear Machinist’s Mate to Brown University

Tell us about yourself, Terren!

Hometown: Brooklyn Center, MN

What is your anticipated school and intended major? Mechanical Engineering at Brown University, Class of 2026

Fun Fact About Yourself: Huge book nerd who loves reading about futuristic technologies

What did you do in the military: Nuclear Machinist’s Mate (ELT) serving on submarines

What was your proudest accomplishment in the military? Pinning fish (submarine qualifications) on one of my mentees. We were able to do it in the sail of the submarine, surfaced in the ocean, as the sun was setting.

What was the biggest benefit to using Service to School throughout the application process? S2S was great with connecting me to someone who truly understood the struggles and expectations of the military and was able to adapt that to civilian equivalents.

How has the transition been from the military to civilian life? It was very rough. You lose your sense of “purpose”. You finally can do whatever you want and go wherever you want, but there is a sense of guilt as if you left your fellow shipmates behind. Even your relationships change as your identity transforms from military service member to discovering who you are. But that is the beauty of it all, you can be whoever you want.

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 am excited to start at Brown this fall! Known for its open curriculum, attending Brown allows me to discover new passions and look into new subjects that I have no background in. Since everyone chooses their classes for their interests vice structured requirements, the student population is more motivated to be in class and contribute to a constructive learning environment.

Why did you decide to pursue this education path? I am inspired to always learn more. The world is constantly evolving, and we are learning new things every day. I have given 9 years to the needs of the military, this is finally my chance to pursue something that pertains to my interests.

What are your goals post-graduation? Unsure, I am excited about the possibility to continue on to grad school, but I am using the years in my undergraduate education to discover that.

Terren’s advice for veterans who are applying to college

Your transition out of the military is challenging! Even when you feel like you are well-prepared, the reality of going from military to civilian definitely takes a toll on you, financially, physically, and mentally. Be sure to surround yourself with a strong support system. Also, realize just because you did great things in the military, sometimes non-military people just cannot understand the depth of what you did, and that is okay. Keep applying the best you can to everything you do because, for the first time, you get to be selfish with your time and your success.

Without a doubt. Many of your friends and family want to support you, but most just do not get what being a veteran means and the toll it has on you. With peer-to-peer, there is a common playing field of knowing the sacrifices that you have made in your military career.


Congrats again Terren on your acceptance to Brown University!


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