Las Positas College held its 8th annual Honoring Women Veterans event on Wednesday, March 11, 2020.
The event kicked off with the honor guard from the Army Recruiting Station in Livermore presenting the colors and the national anthem, sung by LPC student Alejandra Quezanna Sereno. This was followed by a Native American warrior blessing by veterans Dr. Doral Gonzales and Annamae Taubeneck.
LPC president Dr Dyrell Foster welcomed everyone in attendance. Foster stated “this event is special to me as a brother of a women veteran, my sister served in the army.”
U.S. Navy Veteran, Deputy Secretary for Women Veteran Affairs and California Department of Veteran Affairs Lindsay Sin was the master of ceremonies. Sin discussed the needs of women veterans and how the State of California is meeting those needs.
The Deputy Secretary of Minority Veterans Affairs, Xochitl Rodriquez Murillo opened the talks, discussing the importance of Veterans Resource Centers on college campuses. She also discussed the needs of different minority groups in California, where about 46% of veterans are a minority. Minorities take advantage of the resources available to help veterans less than non-minorities.
Keynote speaker Lt. Colonel Jennifer Nolan gave a talk about how she joined the military to make a change. Nolan discussed how today all army jobs are open to women. She believes that most women join the military to make a change, not only to themselves but also to the military itself.
One of the more notable parts of the event was the Student Women Veterans Panel. Five student Veterans were on the panel, Marine Veterans Adriana Santos and Gisella Agurcia, Navy veteran Treasure Edwards, Army Veteran Reina Diaz and Coast Guard Veteran Amanda Paustian.
The panel was moderated by Dr. Miatta Snetter. Each veteran gave a short bio of her military career and what they were studying at LPC. Snetter then asked each women veteran about what was the hardest thing they did in the military.
Arugcia stated that it was working in an undermanned office and being forced to lead the office in doing its task at an early age with little experience. Paustion stated that the transition from being a Coast Guard to a student was difficult, as the coast guard did not do any training or assistance in the transition to civilian.
She had no knowledge of the many assets available to help in her transition until she reached LPC.
The last part of the program was the awarding of scholarships and a grant. The Josefa Higuera Livermore Chapter of the DAR, Valley Veterans Foundation and Blue Star Moms – Danville all awarded scholarships to women veterans. The scholarships ranged from $500 to $5,000.
The Safeway Foundation presented a grant of $40,000 to the LPC Veterans First program. Todd Steffan, the Veterans First Program Supervisor, and Dr. Foster accepted the award for the Veterans First program. The grant will be partially used to offset some of the cost of child care for student veterans and used to offset some of the costs for ACE train tickets for the veterans who live in the Central Valley.
LPC Library employee Francis Hui reflected on the event, stating, “I learned so much from our women veterans and so proud to know they are part of the LPC community.”
The Honoring Women Veterans Events were well received by those in attendance and portrayed to the audience the challenges facing women student veterans.
Alan Lewis is the photo editor of The Express. Follow him @alolewis1.