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MCC student veterans attend national conference

MCC Collegiate Veterans Association members at NATCON 2018

MCC Collegiate Veterans Association members Kassandra Felling, Drew Elliott and Moises Fonseca at the Student Veterans of America National Conference.

Three members of the Marshalltown Community College Collegiate Veterans Association (CVA) attended the Student Veterans of America National Conference in San Antonio, TX, last month. SVA’s national conference (NATCON) is the largest annual gathering of student veterans, advocates, thought leaders, stakeholders, and supporters in higher education in the world.

MCC students Drew Elliott (U.S. Navy) and Moises Fonseca and Kassandra Felling (U.S. Marine Corps) were among more than 1,700 student veterans and conference participants supporting veterans in attendance. NATCON provided more than 60 sessions on topics ranging from community outreach to transitioning from military to civilian life.

“NATCON was a great experience,” says Fonseca. “New things were learned and many connections were made with others. It’s great to see how the motivation for CVA chapters has boosted following the event. We have a great team at MCC, and with each of our unique leadership abilities I can see a great future for the Marshalltown CVA chapter.”

Elliott said he attended most of the sessions about transitioning to civilian life because that continues to be a challenge for him, even five years after leaving the service. “There was a lot of helpful information that I can use, and that I will share with other students who have trouble adjusting. There were many well respected veteran speakers who shared their transition stories and the struggles they endured and overcame. It means a lot and lets me know that I am not alone … even four-star generals can have some struggles. I was reassured that I can overcome these struggles and move successfully into the civilian workforce.”

Felling said she met lots of people at NATCON and learned that the convention was really about making those connections. “A lot of the businesses at the conference were looking to bring people to their teams, particularly students like us who are receiving additional education. I am looking forward to growing our MCC CVA chapter to help other veterans and their families learn and grow.”

Elliott added, “We just connected with other veterans on a different level than we connect with other students at our own colleges because we all know what we’ve been through. Even if someone didn’t get anything out of any of the sessions, those connections with other student veterans meant the most to all of us.”

All NATCON participants met with business recruiters and learned how to enhance their resumes and use tools like LinkedIn for networking.

“We look forward to sharing what we learned with others here in Marshalltown, and we hope we will be able to attend NATCON 2019,” says Fonseca. “We’re grateful to MCC, the Frank Lewis Glick American Legion Post, and Anytime Fitness Toledo/Marshalltown for their support in giving our CVA members the opportunity to experience this life-changing event!”

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