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Class of 2015

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Saint Leo has a proud tradition of helping to educate active-duty military, veterans, and their families—no matter where they are located. These two student stories are examples of the many students who benefit from Saint Leo’s commitment to serving those who serve.


Leo GuzmanLeo Guzman ’13

Stationed in Afghanistan, Leo Guzman is a sergeant first class in the U.S. Army. He earned his associate degree from Saint Leo in 2013 and now is working on his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. “I chose Saint Leo for my education because it had a degree plan that attracted my interest, the mascot was a lion, and we share a name,” he explained.

Over the course of his military career, he has traveled to Iraq, Germany, Kosovo, Kuwait, and Qatar. He hopes to walk across the graduation stage at University Campus, retire from the U.S. Army, and start a career as a Junior ROTC instructor. For now, he proudly waves the Saint Leo flag.

“My experience as a Saint Leo student is indescribable. I have been a student in [an education center] classroom; I have taken VTT classes and online classes. The flexibility that Saint Leo has offered is top-notch.”


Katelyn Flanagan ’15Katelyn Flanagan

Katelyn Flanagan met her future husband, Scott, during her senior year of high school when she was taking a college-level class at the local community college in Lancaster, PA.

Four years later, they married, and with Scott in the U.S. Air Force, Katelyn began her journey as a military spouse. These days, they are stationed in Spangdahlem, Germany, and she is taking advantage of all the online opportunities that Saint Leo has to offer. She finished her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice last year, graduating cum laude. She even traveled to University Campus to take part in the commencement ceremony. Now, she is pursuing her master’s degree in criminal justice: critical incident management.

While she studies for her master’s degree, Flanagan is in the application process to become an officer in the Air Force. She and her husband should return stateside in 2017, but Saint Leo will be with her wherever she goes.


Mary Beth Erskine, web content writer, posted a longer story about Katelyn Flanagan on Saint Leo’s online blog

Victoria McKee

Saint Leo education centers often receive thank-yous from grateful students. Here is just one example from Victoria McKee ’15, a student at North Charleston (SC).

Thank you for giving me hope again for my education. I had attended a couple different universities before transferring to yours. I had never felt like anything but another number to advisors and professors at my previous colleges. However, upon transferring to you, I immediately felt welcome.

When you walk into the center, you can feel the “Saint Leo difference.” You are greeted by name by Rene, Ben, and Liz. They remember your husband’s name, your pets and children, and other personal bits which broadcasts how caring they are for the students beyond just academics. At North Charleston, you are more than just a number; you’re the faculty and staff’s foremost priority, and because of this, my motivation for school returned. I turned my grades around a complete 180 upon stepping through these doors and can proudly display my Dean’s List certificates at home. Because of Saint Leo, I can talk proudly about finishing my degree again and have passion for what I’m studying.

I’d especially like to thank my director, Liz Heron. She has gone above and beyond in making sure I wasn’t just passing classes but actually succeeding. Any time I have struggled, I could go to Liz, and whatever the issue was, it was fixed immediately. Liz rekindled my fire for my education; she encourages me each term to get another blue Dean’s List certificate to hang up, and I know I always have someone in my corner cheering. Any time I have fallen behind, she has given me the drive to keep pushing forward and turn it around.

I treasure my time in class and am so grateful for the opportunity for this education. Who would have thought you could actually look forward to going to school? I am almost sad that my graduation date is coming up soon because then that means I will no longer get to walk into these doors into the center. But, hey—there is always a master’s degree to go for.

 


 

Jovanny Vargias

 

Vargas---author-pictureOn Veterans Day 2014, the Saint Leo University community had the opportunity to hear from Jovanny Vargas ’12, ’15, who is currently a student
at Saint Leo as well as a cadet in the Suncoast Battalion. As a veteran, he offered a unique perspective to the crowd at the University Campus ceremony. Here is part of his address:

Veterans play an important role in the Saint Leo community, the ROTC program, and have made an impact on my personal experiences. As a student of Saint Leo, I feel that veterans play a crucial part in our student body and contribute a distinct point of view in the classroom based on their vast experiences. Veterans tend to spark interesting conversations based on their unique perspectives and encourage students to be more engaged in discussions.

In the ROTC program, veterans play a vital role in developing and mentoring other cadets based on their past military experiences. They constantly challenge other cadets and provide skills that benefit the organization. Cadets tend to value the opinions of veterans and rely on their expertise. Their presence in the organization as instructors, cadets, and support staff provides the essential tools needed to have a successful leadership program. The cadets that graduate from the program gain the best training available from the interaction they receive from these veterans.

During my time in service, veterans were those men and women in arms who supported me during my time away from my family. They were people I could rely on when times were hard and I always knew they had my back. They are a group of professionals who don’t settle for anything less than perfection, always striving to exceed the standard.

Saint Leo has always been a great supporter of those serving in our military no matter where that may be. Before I had the opportunity to study as a full-time student here at University Campus, I had to take the majority of my classes online or on military installations. Regardless of where the Army sent me, whether it was in Korea, Morocco, or even in the most secluded areas in the world like Antarctica, Saint Leo has always provided me with the resources I needed in order to pursue my education. It is evident that Saint Leo cares about making education available for veterans no matter where they are located.

I salute those men and women who have served and currently serve this nation.