Student Veteran of the Month
By Billy Triphahn — firstname.lastname@example.org
Maria Mckiever’s motivation for joining the Army was largely influenced by family tradition. Her mother, cousin, uncle, great-uncle and grandfather all served in the military.
And carrying on this tradition has helped her build a sense of community at UIC.
“My service has allowed me to connect with other veterans on campus,” she said. “Being a part of a community can give you a sense of pride and has helped me with staying on track and focusing on school work, while in turn giving back to the university.”
Mckiever enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2002 as a 91W Health Care Specialist. She was stationed in Fort Jackson, South Carolina, for basic training and Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, for Advanced Individual Training. She was assigned the 4th ID 124th Signal Battalion in Fort Hood, Texas, and served for four years until she was honorably discharged in 2006.
She was deployed twice, once to Tikrit, Iraq, from March 2003 to April 2004 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and from December 2004 to June 2006 to Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.
Her military awards include the Army Commendation Medal, three Army Achievement Medals, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon and Overseas Service Ribbon.
Mckiever began her UIC career in fall 2015 as an industrial engineering major. She plans to graduate in spring 2018.
“State schools are amazing for vets in that there is no anxiety about covering tuition gaps after your GI Bill,” she said. “My experience has been that state schools have a larger percentage of non-traditional students.”
An active member of the Student Veterans Association at UIC, Mckiever is also involved with UIC’s chapter of the Institute for Industrial Engineers.
At UIC, she hopes to make great memories with the people she meets on and off campus.
“The professors are very impressive, and I’ve had the opportunity to work under some that made me grateful to be able to study here,” she said. “The College of Engineering has been an incredible resource for me.”