As a veteran starting school after five years in the Army and three more as a contractor in Kuwait, Ezra Gere wondered if he would fit in on a college campus.
That was never a problem at Marymount University.
“We have plenty of veterans here who have had the same career path as me,” he says. “In fact, we have a wide variety of students from all over the world. I’ve met people in their 40s and 50s who are undergraduates. It’s nice to know you’re not really different from your peers.”
A human intelligence collector in the Army, Gere served two tours in Iraq. Now a junior at Marymount, he majors in information technology with an emphasis on cybersecurity and networking.
“I come from an intelligence background where you have to analyze things and figure out where the gaps are,” Gere says. “In this field you have to be able to do the same thing – and write that up so someone without a technical background can understand it.”
One thing he picked up in the service is time-management skills, which definitely come in handy. Through Marymount, Gere earned an internship at the Department of Defense and then continued to work there two days a week, doing business analytics and software documentation – all while commuting from Leesburg and taking 19 credit hours.
“Basically, any free time I have, I’m reading a book,” he laughs.
He’s glad he chose Marymount and is grateful for the support he receives, whether it’s being recognized at a Veterans Day luncheon or the help he gets from Military and Veteran Student Services.
“There is a lot of support for veterans,” he says. “At Marymount, they really show they appreciate you and it goes beyond just saying, ‘Thank you for your service.’ ”