USD Military Transition Conference Delivers Valuable Information, Service

USD Military Transition Conference Delivers Valuable Information, Service

A full-service opportunity for military men and women interested in exploring post-military pathways as well as helping ease the cultural shift that arises, took place at the fourth annual University of San Diego Military Transition Conference on Friday in the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice.

2019 Military Transition Conference

Sponsored by US Bank, San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation (EDC), Travis Manion Foundation, Hire Heroes, Vet CTAP and Zero8Hundred, attendees received a wealth of information, networking and tips on how to thrive in whatever path they choose – education, employment and good, sound advice on how to prepare for both.

“I feel events like this are very helpful,” said Humberto Bringastrejo, 39, a Navy veteran who will graduate with a BS/BA in mechanical engineering from USD’s Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering in May. “For undergraduate students who are looking into graduate schools, this helps in many different ways. One is to network with people who’ve already successfully transitioned and can relate and give you guidance on building a path to where you want to be.”

Bringastrejo, who is president of USD’s Student Veteran Organization, is leaning toward applying for an MBA program, USD among the considerations. His interest in engineering includes biomedical, such as building prosthetics for those with lost limbs. He sees the MBA as a chance to prepare him for a project manager-type role. “Given my background in the military, I’ve had a lot of leadership roles and mentored a lot of people. I believe I can use my skills in industry and bring them to whatever field I choose to go into and make a successful company even better.”

The caliber of the Military Transition Conference’s program agenda was high from the get-go. Justin McAnear, a Navy undergraduate alumnus and a USD MBA (Finance) alumnus who has been an executive for Apple, Tesla and more, gave the keynote address. Amanda Etter, director of Military and Veterans Programs at USD, then spoke about military education benefits.

A few of the conference’s community sponsors had tables set up so attendees could learn more about their services. One of the organizations, the Travis Manion Foundation, has successfully brought in several USD student veterans and alumni to work and spread awareness of its mission.

Andrea Dame, a 2018 alumna of the School of Leadership and Education Sciences’ (SOLES) Higher Education Leadership master’s degree program, has been a regional coordinator and is currently a curriculum manager for the San Diego chapter of the Travis Manion Foundation. A daughter of a captain in the U.S. Coast Guard, Dame fully appreciates the sacrifice and dedication those in all military branches have made. She enjoys working for a foundation that honors the late Travis Manion’s life through the mantra, “If Not Me, Then Who,” and a movement that strives to unite communities through ingredients such as character, leadership and selfless service.

After learning about ways to connect to community organizations, conference attendees had access to one of three workshops — participate in a career coaching set-up with USD-trained leadership coaches, a Hire Heroes USA-sponsored interactive resume review or the chance to gain insight on job search strategies from experts. Employees from USD’s Career Development Center, School of Business, Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering and SOLES were among those on hand to help.

These workshops validated one of the multiple reasons why John Valle, a senior director in program management and Commander Naval Air Force Reserve for the U.S. Navy, attended the conference. Enlisted in the Navy since 1989 and retiring later this year, Valle wanted to hear McAnear’s talk and to be an active participant in expanding his knowledge.

“It’s about the perspectives you can get from listening to others,” Valle said. “Regardless of how much you know, you need to hear others’ perspectives. You can learn what else is out there that you don’t know or, perhaps, what biases do I have that I need to overcome?”

Scott Handley, both an undergrad and graduate USD alumnus and a former USD employee, is now a Talent Acquisition Manager for Sentek Global. He moderated a lively corporate panel — the entire group was comprised of military veterans — that was put together by the San Diego EDC. Karen Brasch, principal technical program manager for Intuit, USD School of Law alumnus Marty Lorenzo '96, vice president for legal affairs and assistant corporate secretary for Petco, Erik Schmidt, head of global incident response operations for Teradata, and USD MS Executive Leadership alumnus Randy Hoyt '07, vice president of global product development with Cubic Transportation Systems.

A networking lunch with industry experts, a USD education fair to learn about graduate degree programs and the chance to get a USD campus tour concluded the conference’s activities.

— Ryan T. Blystone

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