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UT honors student veterans

by Ana Mejia

For UT students, it is not uncommon to meet veterans or members of the ROTC program in their classrooms. UT prides itself on being military-friendly. It has been named a top school by the Military Advanced Education and Transition magazine, and its students agree.

Joe Diciccio is an Army Specialist. He graduated from UT with a political science degree in 2018. He was stationed at Fort Bragg, NC for four years before he came to school in Tampa. When his contract with the Army was over, he knew he wanted to go back to school and further his education.

Diciccio was in Tampa with his family when he first visited the school. After touring and walking around, he said he fell in love with the campus and the aesthetics of it and knew this was where he wanted to be.

“I went online and it said they were military-friendly, which they are. So, I applied and got accepted,” said Diciccio.

For Diciccio, the biggest thing that made UT military-friendly was that it made the transition from military life to civilian life very easy. He said he did not have to worry about making sure his bills were paid because UT was very supportive throughout the process.

After veterans fulfill their contracts with the military and leave with an Honorable Discharge, their education is supported by the military under the GI Bill.

Diciccio said his life has been influenced in a positive way by being in the U.S. Army. The lessons learned from his superiors who  had been in the military for decades are the most valuable to him.

“They taught me how to be a man, to be accountable and to hold myself to a higher standard,” said Diciccio. “I was able to do good in school because I had that mentality.”

Mia Yancy is a sophomore criminology major from New York. She is part of the other side of military life at UT, and is a member  of the school’s Army Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC).

“I’ve wanted to join the military as long as I could remember,” said Yancy. “I enjoy helping people that are in need, and it brings me joy to be able to protect my country in the process.”

Through the ROTC program, students are shaped into becoming good leaders, according to Yancy, and will commission as second lieutenants in the U.S. Army. They are taught tactical and leadership skills.

She said that she believes the school is welcoming to ROTC cadets but that a lot of people are not very educated on what ROTC really is.

Besides being an ROTC cadet, Yancy is also part of the Women’s Track team. Yancy said that she stays busy in between going to practices and class on top of ROTC among other things. After graduation, she plans to branch to military police, where she will be able to put her criminology degree to good use.

“I expect to become a strong leader and officer in the Army that the cadre can be proud to say they helped shape,” said Yancy.

UThosts events throughout the year in support of the Veteran student population. Last year the school celebrated Veteran’s Day with a picnic for Veterans and their families. UT also brings in speakers for the BAC 104 classes, which are the First-Year Experience classes designed for newcomer student Veterans.

More information on Student Veterans Affairs can be found on www.ut.edu/veterans.

Ana Mejia can be reached at ana.mejia@spartans.ut.edu

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