Student veteran trades military service for education
Annette Uriostegui started her studies at UIC in 2006, but put college on hold for service in the U.S. Army National Guard. She returned to UIC in 2012.
“Thanks to my service, I am able to put myself through college with the GI Bill and Illinois Veteran Grant,” Uriostegui said. “I will never forget the sacrifices I had to make for my higher education.”
As a motor transport operator with the National Guard, Uriostegui operated military wheeled vehicles and equipment over varied terrain and roadways. She managed the loading, unloading and safety of personnel and cargo. Uriostegui participated in more than 100 convoy missions in Iraq, transporting equipment essential to support of other Army units.
She achieved the rank of sergeant (E-5) and completed two deployments to Iraq and Kuwait. She was awarded the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Medal.
“The military gave me an opportunity to learn and grow in many ways,” she said. “I will forever be thankful to all those I crossed paths with during my military years and those who shared their experiences and knowledge with me so that I could become a better soldier and a better person now that I am back to civilian life.”
Uriostegui will graduate in May with a bachelor’s in gender and women’s studies, with a minor in sociology. She is the vice president of Feminists United and a member of the Student Veterans Association.
She is a research assistant for the Chicana Chicago Oral History Project and has a work-study position as the student veteran representative for the Veteran Affairs Office.
“I grew up in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, so coming to UIC was a big change,” she said. “I love that the campus is so close to downtown and many other great places. Coming to UIC made me love the city of Chicago.”
Uriostegui plans to attend graduate school with the ultimate goal of earning a doctorate.
“I want to use the skills I have learned both from my military years and my college years to give back,” she said. “My experiences have opened up my eyes to a world that needs a lot of work to be a better place, and I hope that I can continue to grow and become someone who makes a positive impact on people.”