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Military and Veterans Resource Center
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Student Veteran of the Year

The Student Veteran of the Year program is designed to recognize outstanding military and veteran students who have demonstrated excellent academic achievement, leadership ability, and citizenship. Email our office if you have a student you would like to nominate.

2021

A'Jada Burke head shotA'Jada Burke

A’Jada Burke is a veteran of the United States Navy where she served six years as a hospital corpsman. A’Jada’s service included work at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center’s Naval Postgraduate Dental School where she was selected to serve on the Presidential Medical and Dental Team. She also deployed with the USS Fort McHenry to support the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit in Latvia, Romania, Germany, Dubai and Spain. Though her active duty ended in March 2020, she continues to work with the Navy as a reservist supporting the medical units to help fight the COVID-19 Pandemic. A’Jada is majoring in Interdisciplinary Health Studies with a minor in Public Health with the goal of becoming Commissioner of Health in her birthplace, the U.S. Virgin Islands. In addition to her academic excellence, A’Jada has found time to volunteer with the Alliance Youth Group and Jacksonville’s Habitat for Humanity program and has contributed 60+ hours in tutoring services for students in Duval County Public Schools.

2020

Tyler Johns head shot standing in front of American flagTyler Johns

Tyler Johns is a five-year U.S. Navy veteran. While serving as an Aviation Electronic’s Mate, he earned a Good Conduct Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Navy Unit Commendation, and Navy Pistol Sharpshooter Ribbon. Tyler is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering at UNF and is dedicated to his studies as evidenced by his appearance on the Dean’s List and involvement with the UNF Robotics Club. He is also a Veterans Affairs (VA) work study student in the Military and Veterans Resource Center (MVRC), where he is well known for his willingness to assist students and staff members. In addition to being an exceptional student and VA work study, Tyler is the current president of the UNF Chapter of Student Veterans of America (SVA) club, which demonstrates his deep commitment to helping our community of veterans on campus. As the president, he’s had to pivot to conduct meetings and officer business remotely due to COVID-19; under his leadership this club’s transition to an online environment was seamless.

2019

Group of people presenting Josselyn with an award at half court in the arenaJosselyn Munoz

Josselyn Munoz is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps where she served four years with a deployment to Fallujah, Iraq as one of nine Marines to operate the base’s post office. While on deployment, she often volunteered to deliver packages to fighting troops at their forward operating bases and earned multiple awards including: the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Expeditionary Medal, and a Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation. Josselyn is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in Computer Science and is an exemplary student who regularly goes above and beyond to assist her peers. She is an active member of the Student Veterans of America club and recently took another military-affiliated STEM student under her wing who was experiencing severe anxiety. In addition, Josselyn is a Peer-Assisted Student Success Instructor for the School of Computing and has volunteered with Hubbard House, American Cancer Society, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and Five Star Veterans Center.

2018

Steven Stone

Steven Stone is a veteran of the United States Army where he served as a medic for four years with a deployment to Afghanistan. He earned dual bachelor's degrees in Biology and Chemistry in spring 2018 and was preparing to sit for the MCAT shortly after in order to continue towards his dream of becoming a physician. Steven served as President of the UNF chapter of the American Chemical Society and coordinated a number of successful events for the club. He also worked to secure two grants which will enable the club to fund educational science projects for underprivileged children and promote STEM to youth. Steven also is a volunteer with The Arc, an organization that helps individuals with intellectual development disabilities learn how to transition and thrive in everyday situations, such as independent living and maintaining a job.

 

Ryan and two other people standing at half court in the arenaRyan Geddings (Special Veteran Recognition)

Ryan Geddings is a veteran of the United States Air Force where he served 12 years, deploying twice to Iraq and three times to Afghanistan, as a small arms instructor and repairman. He is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in Computer and Information Sciences and will graduate in Spring 2019. As a part of his program, Ryan is working with classmates to create a project tracking program for Five STAR Veterans Center. After graduation, Ryan plans to enter a graduate program to achieve his aspirations of researching and teaching at the collegiate level. Ryan is currently serving as the President of the UNF Chapter of Student Veterans of America, a club he helped to revitalize in 2017.

2017

Betty standing at half court in the arena with ozzy the osprey and two othersBetty Privette

Betty Privette is a veteran of the United States Navy where she served four years with a deployment to the Middle East and Europe and was the lead gun technician on board the U.S.S Roosevelt. She is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in Finance and Economics and will graduate in fall 2019. She would like to use her degree to help others achieve financial stability and growth in their personal lives. Betty is also an active member of the Student Veterans of America club. She regularly assists with expanding the club's reach in order to help the student body discover the benefits of working with their fellow student veterans. She also loves to bake and frequently brings delicious treats to the veterans' center to share with others.

2016

Jeremy standing at half court in the arena with ozzy the osprey and two othersJeremy Elmore

Jeremy Elmore is a veteran of the United States Navy where he served twenty two years, deploying multiple times to the Arabian Gulf and earning the rank of Chief Petty Officer. He is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in Secondary Education with a focus in Biology and will graduate in spring 2018. Jeremy is an exemplary student who regularly goes above and beyond to assist his peers. He deeply cares for his fellow veterans, and is always willing to offer guidance to new students. Jeremy's kindness extends to veterans in the community, as well. He regularly volunteers with the Clyde E. Lassen and Emory L. Bennett Veterans' Nursing Homes, and participates in fundraising for both organizations.

2015 and earlier

Jaime walking out to half court at the arena and holding her awardJaime Plym (2015)

Jaime Plym is a veteran of the United States Navy where she served five years including multiple deployments to the Gulf of Oman. She also served as navigation and master helmsman of the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan. She is currently pursuing a second bachelor's degree in Coastal Biology and will graduate in fall 2016. She would like to use this degree to work with marine mammals and pursue a career in conservation ecology. Jaime is an excellent student and leader, and is an invaluable asset to the resource center where she works as a Student Assistant. She consistently goes above and beyond in her duties and is the first to volunteer to help her fellow students. She's never afraid to take on difficult tasks and is a good role model for her fellow students. She has also served as a veteran ambassador for Student Government. In her free time, Jaime loves to paint and craft.

 

Two men and Ozzy the Osprey presenting Ramses with his awardRamses Marte Espinosa (2014)

Ramses Marte Espinosa is a bilingual reservist in the United States Marine Corps where he excels as a Communication Technician. He has been granted the Warriors Award for upholding Marine Corps standards and traditions and exemplifies the model Marine with his positive attitude and team spirit. He is also a generous student, participating in community outreach programs like Toys for Tots and volunteering with the New York City Marathon and Volunteers for Medicine. He is currently pursuing a bachelors in biology and is an active member of both the Biomedical Club and the Medical School Pre-Professionals Club. His goal is to become a doctor and use his knowledge to further help the community.

 

A group of people present Jaime with an award at half court in the arenaJamie Giroux (2013)

Jamie Giroux is a veteran of the United States Navy where she served four years including a deployment to Djibouti, Africa. She is currently pursuing a bachelors in social work. She is a model student and leader, serving as Vice President of the UNF Social Work Club and chapter President of Phi Alpha National Honor Society, which she helped to establish. Jamie dedicates hours of her time to serving the Jacksonville community through volunteer work with Brooks Rehabilitation Center and serving as a Child Advocate for Guardian Ad Litem. In addition, she helped raise funds to create Halloween treat bags for homeless children and worked with the Social Work Club to raise funds for a holiday luncheon for domestic violence survivors.

 

Rebecca speaking to a news reporter while in uniformRebecca Ketcher (2012)

Rebecca Ketcher is a veteran of the United States Army and Florida Army National Guard. She has served in combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. Rebecca is pursuing a degree in Spanish and American Sign Language. Rebecca is an active member of the UNF community. She served as president of the Student Veterans of America, UNF Chapter, and regularly volunteers with On Campus Transition by mentoring students and teaching sign language classes.