Public Affairs, The California State University

CSU Veterans: Committed to Service, Education and Success

The CSU is proud to educate the students, graduate the alumni and employ the faculty and staff who have courageously supported this country through their participation in the armed forces. Serving more than 13,000 active military members, veterans and their dependents, the CSU strives to be a national leader in providing an affordable, high-quality educational experience to veterans and their families. Each of the 23 CSU campuses have specialized staff, programs and services that are dedicated to helping veterans transition to campus life, achieve academic excellence and obtain successful careers.

From Nov. 9 to 15, the faces and stories of the veterans throughout the system will be displayed in the State Capitol Building in Sacramento as a tribute to the men and women who have served in the armed forces. The veterans highlighted are among the thousands of veterans within the CSU community who are committed to serving their country, furthering higher education and becoming an integral part to California’s workforce. The nine profiled veterans include the following:

Brittany BergmanBrittany Bergman, CSU Bakersfield student
Brittany is an avionic mechanic in the California Army National Guard where she has served since March 2011. Brittany has excelled in her courses at CSU Bakersfield, while also working in the University Outreach Center and in the Veteran’s Center, helping veterans and dependents adapt to the college environment.

Liam CorleyLiam Corley, Cal Poly Pomona faculty
After English professor Liam Corley returned from being deployed to a NATO base in Afghanistan as a lieutenant in the Navy Reserve, he wrote an essay on the challenges of transitioning to civilian life and scholarship. At Cal Poly Pomona, Liam advocates for student veterans, working to improve the transition from the military to college.

Roxanne FinksRoxanne Finks, CSU Stanislaus alumna
Roxanne’s service in the Army in South Korea, Germany and Iraq prepared her for leadership at the university. As Veterans Club president at CSU Stanislaus in spring 2013, Roxanne challenged and encouraged her fellow veterans to maintain at least a 3.0 GPA, stay physically fit, serve the community and raise funds to sustain the club’s future.

Sean JohnsonSean Johnson, Sacramento State student
During Sean’s nine years of active duty in the U.S. Coast Guard, he gained valuable leadership experience that helped him serve as the president of Sacramento State’s Student Veteran organization. He is organizing a major fund-raiser for student veterans called “Operation: Student Empowerment” to help defray college costs not covered by the GI Bill.

Christ KongChrist Kong, Cal State L.A. alumnus
Christ served in the U.S. Marines from 2002 to 2006 and was deployed to Iraq after serving several missions in Africa, Kuwait and Southeast Asia. Christ, who completed his graduate degree in criminal justice with an option in forensic mental health at Cal State L.A., is working full-time at the Department of Justice.

Sergio Lopez and Hidy Aguilar-LopezSergio Lopez and Hidy Aguilar-Lopez, Cal State Fullerton students
Sergio Lopez found that being responsible for a team of Marines in Afghanistan gave him the motivation and discipline to enroll in college. While based in San Diego, he met his future wife, Hidy Aguilar, who is also a Marine and received the Navy Marine Corps Achievement Medal for exemplary work. As students at Cal State Fullerton, the couple is active in the Student Veterans Association and work with veterans on campus.

Juan LozaJuan Loza, Chico State student
After serving in Iraq as a sniper team leader, Juan reenlisted in the Army and was deployed to Afghanistan. Juan was awarded the Purple Heart after being wounded in battle and is now studying to be a teacher. He works in Chico State’s Office of Veterans’ Affairs as a benefits advisor and also participates in a mentoring program that helps veterans transition from the military to civilian careers.

Eric McElvennyEric McElvenny, San Diego State staff/student
Eric, a retired Marine Corps Infantry Captain, serves as assistant director of San Diego State’s Troops to Engineers program and is also pursuing a master’s degree in business administration. Despite the loss of his lower right leg due to an explosion while serving in Afghanistan, Eric competed in the 2013 Ironman World Championship triathlon and finished the race in 11 hours and 54 minutes.

Kimberly WalkerKimberly Walker, CSU Dominguez Hills student
Senior Airman Kimberly Walker enlisted in the military as a munitions specialist at the Fresno Air National Guard Base. In addition to taking care of her four-year-old daughter, Kimberly is a senior majoring in business and works in the Veteran Students Program Office at CSU Dominguez Hills.