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Moises Fonseca attends student veterans Leadership Institute

Student Veterans of America conference attendees

Marshalltown Community College student veteran Moises Fonseca (front row, sixth from the left and wearing a black shirt) is pictured with his cohort group during the Student Veterans of America Leadership Institute in Dallas, TX.

Marshalltown Community College student Moises Fonseca was one of 100 student veterans selected to participate in the Student Veterans of America (SVA) Leadership Institute in Dallas, TX, Oct. 19-22. A resident of Chelsea and veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, Fonseca is a sophomore majoring in Liberal Arts. He also serves as vice president of the MCC Collegiate Veterans Association.

Sponsored by Prudential and hosted at the George W. Bush Presidential Center, the SVA Leadership Institute provides nearly 15 hours of intensive leadership classroom training from business and industry leaders for those identified as the highest performing student veterans in higher education. Graduates define their personal leadership vision and develop action plans to implement that vision in chapters, colleges and communities across America.

“As soon as we landed in Dallas we all went to a ranch and volunteered,” said Fonseca. “The motto of the day was to leave the place cleaner than how we found it. After the volunteering, we divided into groups of 25, and each group had two mentors. My group mentors were James Schmeling, SVA Executive Vice President of Strategic Engagement (and a graduate of the University of Iowa), and Tom Allin, former Chief Experience Officer for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and CEO of McDonald’s Europe. In his previous position franchising McDonald’s in France, Allin renamed the Big Mac to Royale … which is how my group came to be named Royale with Cheese. We became like a family during those four days.”

“Our mentors were there to teach us leadership through their experiences, as well as how to re-evaluate ourselves as student veterans. Guest speaker George W. Bush gave a powerful speech on leadership during the Institute, and it definitely made a huge impact on the group. Every student veteran also networked with others on how to improve our college clubs and make an impact in our communities.”

Former President Bush told the SVA participants, “A true leader is someone who is optimistic and tries to figure out how to achieve a common objective that is good for everyone. Every veteran should return to civilian life with the confidence that he or she has the ability and skills to be a great leader. You are a leader. Do not let anyone tell you that you’re not.”

Fonseca adds, “I’m thankful that I received the opportunity to attend this event. I learned a lot about leadership, and I will make sure to use what I learned to help the community and our student veterans.”

Fonseca and a student veteran from the University of Dubuque were the only Iowa students at the leadership institute. More than 600 student veterans applied to attend the event but only 100 were selected.

Travel, lodging, and meals were covered for all attendees thanks to the generous support by Prudential.

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