Tag Archive for posse scholars

Graduating Military Veterans Celebrated at Reception

On May 20, the Wesleyan Student Veterans Organization (WESVO) hosted a two-hour formal reception to honor the U.S. and foreign service graduating veterans and show appreciation for faculty and staff that have aided in the accomplishments of the student veterans.

“There is a huge disparity in the number of veterans with college degrees and an even larger gap between veterans that attend community colleges versus elite universities,” said veteran Marsella Andrews ’20. “These veterans have worked extremely hard to graduate so we wanted to give them special recognition.”

Among those celebrated were Wesleyan Posse Foundation Veteran Scholar and U.S. Navy veteran Ky Foley ’17 and veteran Asad Hassanali ’17 of Singapore.

Foley, who worked as a construction mechanic in the Naval Expeditionary Combat Command and served two tours in Afghanistan before enrolling at Wesleyan in 2014, is a member of inaugural “posse” of veterans at Wesleyan. Wesleyan’s Posse Foundation Veteran Scholars Program offers a four-year, full-tuition leadership scholarship to military veterans.

Asad Hassanali '17 and Ky Foley '17.

Military veterans Asad Hassanali ’17 and Ky Foley ’17 are graduating on May 28.

Wesleyan Community Honors Military Veterans at “Salute to Service” Event (with photos and video)

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On Nov. 12, the Wesleyan community honored local veterans, as well as students, faculty, staff, alumni and parents who served in the military at “Salute to Service: Honoring Our Veterans.” The event was held prior to Wesleyan’s last football game vs. Trinity College for the “Battle of the Birds.”

Wesleyan treated the veterans, including Wesleyan’s Posse Foundation Scholars, and their families to a brunch in Daniel Family Commons. Speakers included Wesleyan President Michael Roth; Antonio Farias, vice president for equity and inclusion; City of Middletown Mayor Daniel Drew; and veteran and Wesleyan alumnus Tim Day ’59.

Following the program, Wesleyan’s Director of Athletics Mike Whalen ’83 led the veterans onto Andrus Field where they were greeted in the end zone by the Cardinal football players. The Middletown Police Bagpipe Association performed prior to the veterans’ public recognition.

Tim Day, who served with the U.S. Marines, was named an honorary football captain and led the coin toss to start the game.

Photos of Salute to Service: Honoring Our Veterans are below: (Photos by Rebecca Goldfarb Terry ’19)

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Office for Equity and Inclusion Coordinates Pathways to Inclusive Excellence Initiative

Wesleyan's Posse Foundation Veteran Scholars Program offers a four-year, full-tuition leadership scholarship to military veterans.

Wesleyan’s Posse Foundation Veteran Scholars Program offers a four-year, full-tuition leadership scholarship to military veterans.

The Ronald E. McNair Post Program assists students from under-represented groups in preparing for, entering and progressing successfully through postgraduate education.

The Ronald E. McNair Post Program assists students from under-represented groups in preparing for, entering and progressing successfully through postgraduate education.

This fall, the Office for Equity and Inclusion will coordinate five Wesleyan cohort programs: the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship, the Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program, the Wesleyan Math and Science Scholars Program (WesMaSS), the Upward Bound Math-Science Program, and the Posse Veteran Scholars Program. The initiative is called Pathways to Inclusive Excellence (PIE).

“It makes sense organizationally to place these programs under the same umbrella, in order to increase a sense of community amongst students, faculty and staff,” said Antonio Farias, vice president for equity and inclusion/Title IX officer. “Our vision is to increase the flow of students in grades 9 through 16 from historically underrepresented backgrounds and to provide opportunities and access by way of pathway programs that require complex thinking but also a complex interdisciplinary understanding of belonging in the pursuit of excellence.

Wesleyan Welcomes Posse Veteran Scholars to the Class of 2020

Wesleyan's newest group of Posse Veteran Scholars. Back row, from left: Gregory Hardy, Andrew Daggon, Zachary Patterson, Daniel Rodriguez. Front row, from left: Lance Williams, Noel Salvador, Marisella Andrews, Rebecca Martinez, Gabrielle Hurlock, Mitchell Motlagh.

Wesleyan’s newest group of Posse Veteran Scholars. Back row, from left: Gregory Hardy, Andrew Daggon, Zachary Patterson, Daniel Rodriguez. Front row, from left: Lance Williams, Noel Salvador, Marisella Andrews, Rebecca Martinez, Gabrielle Hurlock, Mitchell Motlagh.

This fall, Wesleyan will welcome to campus its third cohort of Posse Veteran Scholars in the Class of 2020—a group of three women and seven men who have served in all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. They come from all over the United States and have served in places such as Afghanistan, Uganda and Iraq. Their interests range from visual art and filmmaking to teaching and mathematics. One student, Marisella Andrews, is the great-granddaughter of a Wesleyan alumnus, Matias Perez, from the Class of 1917.

The group’s faculty mentor will be Jill Morawski, the Wilbur Fisk Osborne Professor of Psychology, professor and chair of Science in Society, professor of feminist, gender and sexuality studies. Trained in experimental psychology, Morawski has turned her scholarly inquiries toward seeking better understanding of the ways that scientific psychology has shaped American culture, policy and individual lives.

“It’s exciting to have Professor Morawski join the team of deeply committed faculty mentors, without whom, this initiative would not succeed the way it has these past two years,” said Antonio Farias, vice president for equity and inclusion/Title IX officer, and Wesleyan’s Posse Veteran liaison.

The newest group of Posse Veteran Scholars join two earlier cohorts in the class of 2018 and 2019, bringing the total number of Posse Veteran Scholars on campus to 30 next year, and the total number of veterans on campus to 32. Farias commented on the increasing presence of veterans on campus, “Those that have served, viscerally understand what selfless service is about—it’s the motivating drive to give more than they get, and it’s the keystone to developing highly functional and diverse teams, where the mission is greater than any individual need. Excellence through resiliency best captures the experience of our Posse Veteran Scholars and we look forward to seeing them continue to thrive.”

Read the original announcement about Wesleyan’s partnership with the Posse Foundation to recruit military veterans here, and see a recent PBS Newshour feature on Wesleyan’s Posse vets here.

PBS Newshour Features Wesleyan’s Posse Veteran Scholars

PBS Newshour's Jackie Judd interviews Michael Smith '18 about his experience at Wesleyan as a Posse Veteran Scholar.

PBS Newshour’s Jackie Judd interviews Michael Smith ’18 about his experience at Wesleyan as a Posse Veteran Scholar.

On March 15, Wesleyan’s Posse Veteran Scholars program was spotlighted on PBS Newshour, in an episode featuring interviews with President Michael S. Roth and several students. Wesleyan is first mentioned around 3 minutes with Michael Smith ’18 speaking.

According to the show, more than 1 million vets are using GI benefits, but most attend public or for-profit schools. The number of veterans attending top-tier colleges “is so small, it’s not even known.” A few years ago, the Posse Foundation—which has a long history of sending groups, or posses, of talented students “who don’t fit the mold” to top colleges—started a program focused on military veterans. Wesleyan welcomed its first posse of veterans to campus two years ago and, this spring, will admit its third. Vassar and Dartmouth colleges also participate in the Posse Veteran Scholars program.

“I think it’s going to allow for the trajectory of my life to be more vertical by virtue of being here,” Smith told interviewer Jackie Judd. “By virtue of the educational experience I’m getting, by virtue of the skills I’m developing, and by virtue of the resources that I just wouldn’t have had access to.”

Judd also interviewed Bryan Stascavage ’18, an Iraq war veteran and a conservative, about finding himself in the middle of a “culture clash” on campus this fall after he penned an article critical of the Black Lives Matter movement.

“I knew that the articles I was writing were not the prevailing opinion on campus, and I knew that it was only a matter of time when, I like to say, that I connect with the beehive,” said Stascavage.

“Unlike a fighting unit, where you really need cohesion and you all have to point in the same direction, at a university you can afford dissent and controversy as long as you learn to listen while that’s going on,” said Roth. Though difficult in the moment, Roth said, the episode was a positive “teachable moment” for the community. “That’s what you want. Because if you’re learning to listen, you’re learning to learn,” he said.

“I don’t want to be in an environment where everybody thinks the same as me, because you just don’t learn that way,” added Stascavage.

Students Visit Connecticut State Veterans Home

A group of Wesleyan students, led by University Protestant Chaplain Tracy Mehr-Muska, visited the Connecticut State Veterans Home in Rocky Hill on Nov. 8, just ahead of Veterans Day. The twelve students—including two Posse Veteran Scholars—visited with the veterans, sang patriotic songs, and pinned American flag pins on their lapels in honor of their military service. They were joined by Mehr-Muska's chaplain intern from Yale Divinity School, Jonathan Heinly, and the chaplain at the Veterans Home. Among the veterans they met was a 101-year-old man who served as a member of the Tuskegee Airmen.

A group of Wesleyan students, led by University Protestant Chaplain Tracy Mehr-Muska, visited the Connecticut State Veterans Home in Rocky Hill on Nov. 8, just ahead of Veterans Day. The 12 students—including two Posse Veteran Scholars—visited with the veterans, sang patriotic songs, and pinned American flag pins on their lapels in honor of their military service. They were joined by Mehr-Muska’s chaplain intern from Yale Divinity School, Jonathan Heinly, and the chaplain at the Veterans Home. Among the veterans they met was a 101-year-old man who served as a member of the Tuskegee Airmen.

Courant, Monitor Feature Wesleyan’s ‘Posse’ of Veterans

Dennis White '19 is one of 20 Posse Veteran Scholars at Wesleyan. (Photo by Mark Mirko/ The Hartford Courant).

Dennis White ’19 is one of 20 Posse Veteran Scholars at Wesleyan. (Photo by Mark Mirko/ The Hartford Courant).

Just ahead of Veteran’s Day, The Hartford Courant has published an in-depth feature on Wesleyan’s Posse veteran scholars. According to the story:

For more than two decades, Posse has run a program on the principle that high school students from diverse backgrounds will have a better chance of becoming successful students and leaders on campus if they come in a tight-knit group and with a network that helps to support them.

Two years ago, Posse expanded that concept to teams of veterans, starting at Vassar College. Wesleyan had its first posse of 10 veterans enter last year, and a second posse of 10 more this fall and will add 20 more over the next two years. Next year, Dartmouth College plans to become part of the program. As part of the arrangement, the schools agree to pick up whatever costs the federal veterans programs don’t cover.

In 2013, Wesleyan decided to partner with Posse because the university was having a hard time attracting veterans on its own.

“Wesleyan is known as a school pretty much on the left …” President Michael Roth told the Courant, “but a school that’s only on the left and seems hostile to anything that’s not stereotypically on the left is a school that would be weak, I think. It would be an echo chamber, rather than a place of real conversation and debate.

“I thought it would be good for Wesleyan because these young men and women — their life experience has been different from most of our students.”

The article leads with Army veteran Ryan “Doc” Polk ’19, who admits he was elated but “terrified” to start at Wesleyan.

But Polk, who is 32, says his experience in a “posse” of 10 veterans at Wesleyan has allayed his reservations. He has found the students open and easy to talk to, and he’s taking every class he can cram into his schedule. His career plan to drive a truck has given way to plans to become a writer.

Polk described his experience at Wesleyan:

When he got into Wesleyan, he said, beyond his questions about the cultural atmosphere on campus, his first thought was, “OK, I have a future. That was my reaction. I have a future now.”

Polk didn’t know how he would relate to younger students fresh out of high school, but he said he’s been pleasantly surprised. “They actually want to know what’s happening,” Polk said. “They don’t try and understand it, they just want to listen and they are like, ‘wow, that’s different.'”

Polk left the Army in 2014 after he was wounded in Afghanistan. He was in and out of the hospital for eight months with various medical issues. His marriage dissolved. “You’ll hear this story from a lot of vets. You’re just not the same afterward, so it’s kind of like learning who you are.”

It’s part of the reason “Doc” doesn’t go by his old name — Ryan — anymore. “I don’t even know that guy anymore,” he said.

From that point of view, Polk said he is very much like the freshmen around him. “They are trying to figure out who they are, so even though I’m 120 years older, I can still relate to where they are at.”

The article also describes the role of faculty mentors for the Posse veteran scholars.

As part of the Posse program, Wesleyan faculty mentors provide close advising to Posse students, meeting with them one-on-one and in groups. In addition, Posse Foundation staff visit the campus several times a year.

Andrew Szegedy-Maszak, a professor of Greek and Classical Studies and a faculty mentor, said that one of the biggest issues veterans face is the “impostor syndrome,” which was discussed in the ’70s and ’80s.

Many of the veterans had unsuccessful high school careers or attended community colleges, where they were “racking up A’s,” Szegedy-Maszak said.

But the work at Wesleyan is much harder, and they may be finding it “a shock to the system.”

“There’s still this anxiety about whether they should really be here,” he said. “Whether they can really cut it here, and they absolutely can.”

While having a posse of older students with shared military experience is helpful, Antonio Farias, Wesleyan’s vice president for equity and inclusion, said the students are expected to get out of their “comfort zones,” become leaders on campus and participate in extracurricular activities.

The Christian Science Monitor also interviewed Polk for a story about the challenges veterans face when entering college after military service, and programs designed to help them.

Despite his anxiety about being at Wesleyan, he said, “Everyone I’ve talked to has been very open, not just asking questions because it’s fun, but because they just want the raw information of what happened.” In the process he’s found that the first time he’s been able to talk openly about his experiences in combat, “It’s been with 18-year-olds.”

President Michael Roth told the Monitor about why Wesleyan brought the Posse veterans program to campus.

“We’ve been engaged in a series of wars that haven’t even been labeled wars, and they demand an enormous sacrifice from a very small percentage of the population, and the rest of us depend on that sacrifice whether we like it or not, but never really have to talk to somebody who patrolled the streets of Iraq or the mountains of Afghanistan,” he said.

“I thought this was a great thing – we’d both help deserving student veterans with financial assistance, and it would also be good for the campus because they would have a very different life experience from most of our other students,” he adds. “They’re a little bit older, more mature, and they are intensely curious about the world and about themselves. I think they want to make the most of their education, and they don’t take it for granted. There’s a kind of intensity to that that’s just great.”

“Words after War” Symposium Offers Conversation, Workshops, Panel Discussions

The Office of Equity and Inclusion sponsored a day-long writing symposium on “Words after War: Storytelling for Life, Business and Politics” Oct. 10 in Usdan University Center.

The symposium, which was open to military veterans, Posse Veteran Scholars, Wesleyan students and community writers, provided thoughtful, diverse conversation and writing about conflict and how to bridge the veteran/civilian divide. More than 45 people registered for the event.

The symposium featured panel discussions and breakout workshops with authors. Participants learned valuable and practical writing techniques and left with a newfound sense of empowerment and inspiration in producing art that builds community, makes an impact, and reaches a wider audience.

The event included panel discussions on “Art of the Interview,” and “Elements of Craft,” and breakout workshops on “Writing Your War (Memoir and Creative Nonfiction),” “Blogging, Social Media, Public Relations, and the Business of Writing” and “Writing in the Academy and Journalism, Politics and National Security.”

Moderators from Wesleyan included Anne Greene, University Professor in English, director of the Wesleyan Writers Conference, and William “Vijay” Pinch, professor of history, professor of environmental studies, chair of the College of the Environment.

Other instructors included Brandon Willitts, executive director and co-founder of Words After War; Lauren Katzenberg, managing editor of Task and Purpose, a digital news and culture publication covering military and veterans issues; Kristen Rouse, the founding director of the NYC Veterans Alliance; Peter Molin, a retired West Point English faculty member and officer with deployment experience to the Sinai, Egypt, Kosovo and Afghanistan; Vanessa Gezari, managing editor of Columbia Journalism Review and an adjunct professor at Columbia Journalism School; Thomas Gibbons-Neff, national security journalist for the Washington Post and former Marine infantryman; and authors/editors Adrian Bonenberger, Sara Nović, Maxwell Neely-Cohen and Matt Gallagher. View the instructors’ full bios here.

Photos of the event are below: (Photos by Will Barr ’18)

Words After War Writing Symposium at Wesleyan University, Oct. 10, 2015. (Photo by Will Barr '18)

Ebenal ’18 Participates in Wireless Infrastructure Conference at White House

On July 15, Wesleyan Posse Scholar Royce Ebenal ’18 attended the White House Summit on Wireless Workforce Development, a conference that focused on the urgent need to train workers for careers in the wireless industry to ensure that the U.S. wireless network infrastructure capacity will be sufficient for the future.

More than 80 leaders from wireless companies, federal agencies and academic institutions attended the conference. Participants also recognized that this was an opportunity to hire and train underrepresented groups, including veterans, women and minorities, for well-paying technical jobs. Posse scholar Rob Mendez ’18, who is an intern at the National Science Foundation this summer, also attended the conference.

Ebenal is working as an intern at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) this summer. He’s been speaking with senior government officials, including the office of Second Lady Jill Biden, about the Posse Foundation in an effort to expand veterans’ access to elite colleges.

“While working at the White House has been truly humbling, I am motivated everyday to represent veterans, the Posse Foundation and Wes,” Ebenal said.

Ebenal co-authored an article on the White House Summit on Wireless Workforce Development. The story is online here.

Wesleyan Posse Veterans Attend Benefit for Wounded Ranger

Michael Smith ’18, Bryan Stascavage ’18 and Andrew Po ’18 attended a Veteran’s Gala, sponsored by Homes For Our Troops, for wounded veteran Sean Pesce. (Photo by Bryan Stascavage ’18)

Andrew Po ’18, Bryan Stascavage ’18 and Michael Smith ’18 attended a Veteran’s Gala, sponsored by Homes For Our Troops, for wounded veteran Sean Pesce.

Wesleyan sponsored three Posse Veteran scholars to attend the Veteran’s Gala for Specialist Sean Pesce, an Army Ranger who was shot 13 times and paralyzed from the waist down during a mission in Afghanistan in fall 2012. Michael Smith ’18, Andrew Po ’18, and Bryan Stascavage ’18 attended the June 19 benefit to show support for a fellow veteran, and to learn more about a smaller non-profit organization that is helping those who served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The charity that is helping Pesce, Homes For Our Troops, modifies or builds homes that allow wounded veterans to live independently.

“We were amazed by how our radio station rallied around the mission of Homes For Our Troops,” said Chaz and AJ, in a preamble before showing a video about Pesce.

Brianne McNamara, community fundraiser coordinator for Homes For Our Troops, spoke with the Wesleyan Posse Veterans. (Photo by Bryan Stascavage ’18)

Brianne McNamara, community fundraiser coordinator for Homes For Our Troops, spoke with the Wesleyan Posse Veterans. (Photo by Bryan Stascavage ’18)

Brianne McNamara, a community fundraising coordinator for Homes For Our Troops, spoke with the Wesleyan Posse attendees about the organization.

“We don’t do any self-promotion or advertising,” she said. “This allows us to give 90 cents out of every dollar directly to helping veterans. Instead, we rely on word of mouth and events like this gala to spread word of our organization.”

The national average for refurbishing a home for a veteran costs more than $400,000, she noted, and Home For Our Troops has been able to help more than 180 wounded veterans. The organization also provides financial counseling services to ensure that the veteran will be able to maintain the house after renovations are complete.

The gala was particularly important to the Wesleyan Posse Veterans: Po and Pesce served in the same Ranger Company while deployed to Afghanistan. Although they hadn’t known each other well at the time, the two spent much time in conversation at the benefit. Afterwards, Po shared some notes about his conversation.

Sean Pesce (left) and Po talk during the gala. (Photo by Bryan Stascavage ’18)

Sean Pesce (left) and Po talk during the gala. (Photo by Bryan Stascavage ’18)

“Pesce still loves to golf, and is looking forward to attending the University of New Haven in the fall,” said Po, noting that Pesce is interested in earning a degree in business or political science. “He wants to open his own restaurant and perhaps run for public office one day.”

Despite his new home and college plans, the road ahead still has challenges for Pesce. “He still has a lot of medical appointments between now and when he starts college,” says Po. “He’ll also have building events at his new home over the summer—and while these events are exhausting for him, he knows it is for a great cause.”

Those in the Wesleyan community interested in volunteering with Homes For Our Troops can find more information here.

Additionally, details on Pesce’s story can be found here.

Danbury mayor Mark D. Boughton spoke at the event, offering support for veterans in Connecticut.

Danbury mayor Mark D. Boughton spoke at the event, offering support for veterans in Connecticut. (Photo by Bryan Stascavage ’18)

The cover band Rum Runners played for free at the benefit. (Photo by Bryan Stascavage ’18)

The cover band Rum Runners played for free at the benefit. (Photo by Bryan Stascavage ’18)

Wesleyan Welcomes Second Cohort of Posse Veteran Scholars

The newly accepted class of Posse Veteran Scholars, holding Wesleyan shirts, together with some current Posse scholars. Also shown are Andy Szegedy-Maszak, faculty mentor of the Class of 2018 Posse scholars, and Jane A. Seney Professor of Greek; John Gudvangen, associate dean of admission and financial aid/director of financial aid; and Antonio Farias, vice president for equity and inclusion/ Title IX officer.

Pictured are the newly accepted Class of 2019 Posse Veteran Scholars, holding Wesleyan shirts, together with some current Posse scholars from the Class of 2018. Also shown are, second from left, Andy Szegedy-Maszak, faculty mentor of the Class of 2018 Posse scholars, and Jane A. Seney Professor of Greek; fifth from left, John Gudvangen, associate dean of admission and financial aid/director of financial aid; and, far right, Antonio Farias, vice president for equity and inclusion/ Title IX officer.

Wesleyan has accepted a second cohort of Posse Foundation Veteran Scholars into the Class of 2019. The group, which includes three women and seven men, come from all over the United States, and have served in Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia, Italy, South Korea and Germany. Seven served in the Army, one in the Marine Corps, one in the Air Force, and one in the Connecticut Army National Guard.

The group’s faculty mentor will be Giulio Gallarotti, professor of government, professor of environmental studies, tutor in the College of Social Studies.

In 2013, Wesleyan became only the second institution, after Vassar, to partner with the Posse Foundation in a new program to recruit veterans to top-tier colleges and universities, where they receive full scholarships. Read more about the partnership in this story. The first “posse” of students entered Wesleyan in fall 2014. Meet them here.

“Our second Posse Vets cohort brings an even more diverse and eclectic group of veterans to Wesleyan,” said Antonio Farias, vice president for equity and inclusion/ Title IX officer. “What continues to impress me is the unshakeable confidence that is backed by academic rigor and a deep sense of duty each of the vets brings to their educational journey.”

The first group of Posse vets “have set a high bar in terms of academic performance and community engagement, so we’re looking forward to welcoming the next cohort and watching them thrive,” he said.

Farias added that he’s grateful to the faculty who have volunteered to serve as mentors to these students, as well as the tireless staff that help ensure the transition from the military to a liberal arts college is successful.

“We’re thrilled that Giulio Gallarotti has been selected as the faculty mentor. Giulio brings a deep empathetic understanding of how to integrate and help different types of students excel at Wes, which makes him an ideal mentor.”

Posse Scholar Foley ’18 Recipient of Quilt of Valor

Kyle Foley '18 received a Quilt of Valor Dec. 3 at the Emblem Club in Middletown. She's pictured here with several Wesleyan students and at left, Professor Andy Szegedy-Maszak.

Pictured sixth from left, Kyle Foley ’18 received a Quilt of Valor Dec. 3 at the Emblem Club in Middletown. She’s pictured here with several Wesleyan students and at left, Professor Andy Szegedy-Maszak. The quilt pattern is sawtooth star blocks representing the American Flag. The center eagles represent patriotism.

For her six years of service to the nation, Afghanistan veteran Kyle Foley ’18, a Posse Scholar at Wesleyan, received a quilt from the local Quilts of Valor Foundation during a ceremony Dec. 3 at the Emblem Club in Middletown.

Kyle Foley receives the Quilt of Valor from Jane Dougherty, the Connecticut Quilt of Valor representative, and Deborah Sierpinski, administrative assistant at Wesleyan.

Kyle Foley receives the Quilt of Valor from Jane Dougherty, the Connecticut Quilt of Valor representative, and Deborah Sierpinski, administrative assistant at Wesleyan.

Since 2003, Quilts of Valor have become a national community service effort to bring the home front to wounded soldiers and to honor returning Veterans. Quilts of Valor members pay tribute to those who have been touched by war by giving them a symbol of comforting and healing.

During her six years in the Navy, Foley was a Seabee, specifically a construction mechanic, and was attached to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 4. Within the battalion she worked as a mechanic on both construction equipment and combat vehicles, and also served as a fire team leader, squad leader, and 240Bravo gunner, at different times.

Kyle Foley met with Laurine Sierpinski, a local WWII veteran.

Kyle Foley met with Laurine Sierpinski, a local WWII veteran.

On Foley’s second deployment, she served as the lead mechanic on a detachment to Camp Marmal Afghanistan. At that time, she was the first female mechanic during her tenure to be put in charge of the mechanical shop of a detachment. At the end of her second deployment she re-enlisted to “cross-rate,” or change her job. She cross trained at Corps school in Great Lakes, Ill., and became a Hospital Corpsman (Navy Medic).

After she had finished training she was re-assigned to Naval Hospital Bremerton, where she worked as a general medic, one of the hospital’s three primary phlebotomists, a command mentor — mentoring foru junior personnel — and as a command fitness leader, and as a member of the auxiliary security forces team. Foley also volunteered as the strength and conditioning coach for a women’s lacrosse team at a local high school.

Kyle Foley, center, is one of 10 Posse Foundation Veteran Scholars at Wesleyan this year. The  scholars are funded by The Posse Foundation, which supports students with a four-year, full-tuition leadership scholarship.

Kyle Foley, center, is one of 10 Posse Foundation Veteran Scholars at Wesleyan this year. The scholars are funded by The Posse Foundation, which supports students with a four-year, full-tuition leadership scholarship.

Foley, 29, ended her service Oct. 9, 2012 and enrolled at Wesleyan in fall 2014 as a result of the university’s partnership with the Posse Foundation. Posse Foundation identifies talented veterans who are interested in pursuing bachelor’s degrees at top tier universities.

Andrew Szegedy-Maszak, Jane A. Seney Professor of Greek and Professor of Classics, a mentor for Foley, recommended her as a candidate for a Quilt of Valor.

Students enrolled in a quilting class at Middletown Adult Education and The Quilting Queens, a club in East Hartford, came together to sew patriotic star blocks for the Quilts of Valor. Under the direction of Deborah Sierpinski, instructor at Middletown Adult Education and administrative assistant at Wesleyan, the talented group of women pieced the red, white and blue quilt top.

The Emblem Club, an organization that celebrates Americanism, donated funds toward the cost of the quilt. Representatives from Wesleyan, Middletown Adult Education, the Emblem Club, and the Quilts of Valor Foundation attended the ceremony to pay tribute to Foley.