February 24, 2024

Jessica Roberson: Saluting a Veteran

Most days, you can find Jessica Roberson at the U.C.’s Veteran’s Resource Center, where she helps student veterans apply for GI Bill benefits and transition to student life. She knows of what she speaks. Roberson spent five years in the Air Force managing aircrew flight equipment before enrolling at UMW.  A senior majoring in international business, she also helps coordinate events for the Association of Student Veterans. Though she generally spends her days on the ground heading to classes, she knows what it’s like to jump out of a plane.

Q: What spurred you to join the military?

A: I joined the military when I was 19 years old. My former boyfriend’s dad, who was an Air Force F-15 pilot, constantly talked to me about the benefits and real-world experience that you get from serving in the military, so he really pushed me to join, and I really appreciate him for that to this day.

Q: Why did you choose to study at Mary Washington?

A: I grew up in Fredericksburg and my parents moved to Orange County when I was 16. I’d always been around the campus and really liked the liberal arts feel of this school. I looked online for Veteran’s Administration educational benefits and saw that UMW had a recognized program in the area. Two years ago, UMW had about 400 veterans enrolled with a 75-percent graduation rate, which is pretty high.

Q: What is one memory you have of a special moment on campus that you see intersecting with your veteran status?

A: Devil Goat Day 2016, which was one of my first experiences since I had just transferred to UMW in the spring. It’s really kind of cool to me that the graduation classes come together as a whole on that day, like the odds and the evens. When you are in the military, you depend on that camaraderie and group dynamic.