Angela Rich is an Army veteran whose passion is making people aware of the experiences of GIs and their families. As such, the Sacramento State graduate is getting involved with the VETS/ROTC Alumni Chapter.
The fledgling campus organization was created to help military veterans and alumni navigate their way through Sac State, to provide career networking and to track their progress. “There’s such a need for this service,” Rich says, noting that recent veterans are having a much tougher time making the transition to civilian life.
For starters, Rich contends that many are prone to deployment overseas that may disrupt their plans. That happened to her in 1998 when her active-duty unit was sent to the Balkans on a NATO mission and she had to forgo several community college classes. Her scheduled departure from the reserves in 2003 was superseded by a stop-loss order, putting her on standby for deployment and causing her to forfeit a semester of classes. She was slated for assignment to Iraq until a change of orders.
Factor in other problems like post-traumatic stress disorder and the culture shock of coming from a combat zone to campus, and she says the challenges can be overwhelming.
That’s why Rich is committed to doing whatever she can to help as a chapter member. She’s also considering getting a doctorate, specializing in Military Sociology. The problem is, this would necessitate a cross-country move to the University of Maryland, which has one of the best programs. It would also require her to earn yet another master’s degree in Sociology, essentially repeating the one she received from Sacramento State in 2010.
“I transferred here as a junior and completed my bachelor’s degree in 2006 while interning as a researcher on campus,” Rich says. She is currently employed at Sac State full time specializing in applied research.
The experience of serving nine years in the Army and benefiting from the GI Bill has given her a deeper appreciation of the importance of “being all you can be.” She would like to become more involved in analyzing policies that affect veterans.
For now, however, Angela Rich is looking forward to helping veterans affiliated with her alma mater in any way she can. “Many people don’t realize the sacrifices they and their families have made for their country,” she says.
– Alan Miller
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