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AUG 2018

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34 G.I. JOBS | AUGUST 2018 | GIJOBS.COM TAVIA GILMORE last graced the cover of G.I. Jobs six years ago when she was attending University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) as a Marine Corps reservist and 26-year-old English ed major. Having already completed four years of active duty and endured life in an Iraqi combat zone, Gilmore felt out of place amidst her more-traditional classmates. She found solace and support in the student veterans' programs offered at the school. Today Gilmore keeps busy teaching 9th- and 10th-grade English at West Forsyth High School in North Carolina and enjoying life with her partner, Brian, and their children. What have you been doing professionally since your graduation? Right after college, I accepted a long-term substitute assignment, which proved WHEN WE INVITED Tiannia Romero to be on the cover of the July 2016 issue of G.I. Jobs, we knew this Navy veteran was going places. At the time, she was studying at the College of San Mateo, a large community college near San Francisco. We weren't wrong. Since we last visited Tiannia, she was one of the faces of LinkedIn's #HonorOurFuture campaign, served as the first female commander at an American Legion Post in Redwood City, Calif., and transferred to Harvard University in the fall of 2017 where she is president of the Student Veterans of America chapter. Oh, and she started a nonprofit called BuddyChecks, which helps the military community find resources. How has your military experience impacted your career? The military taught me discipline and the importance of community and supporting each other. to be extraordinarily challenging. Many days I cried and doubted whether I should have been a teacher. Now, after teaching my own students for the past few years, I know I'm meant to be an English teacher. I am currently the only teacher on staff to teach the Essentials English II remedial class, and I am also the SADD Club (Students Against Destructive Decisions) sponsor. What are your future plans? I have not yet completed a master's program, but I have started the journey to obtain my degree, completing courses through American Military University. I'll continue to pursue my master's, even if it means one class here and there. I will also continue teaching so long as I am able and have a fantastic school like West Forsyth to call home. When you were a "gear rat" on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier, did you ever dream you'd be a student at Harvard University some day? Not in a million years. I never even thought I would end up in college, let alone one of the top three universities in America. I remember being called a knuckle dragger and just accepting it because I didn't realize I was so much more than that. To be honest, the hardest part was changing my way of thinking to allow myself to succeed. In 2016 your goal was to be a congresswoman. Is that still on your radar? Yes, I am still working toward being in Congress. However, I have realized that might just be another step. Who knows, I might be president one day. In the meantime, my goal is to encourage fellow veterans to find their passion and mend the relationships between civilians and the military community. 200TH ISSUE WHERE ARE THEY NOW? BY ANDREA LOVAS FROM COMBAT ZONE TO SCHOOL ZONE Marine Corps training helps teacher overcome the challenges of the classroom. BY DAN FAZIO HEADED FOR HARVARD Navy 'gear rat' never dreamed she'd study at one of nation's top schools. THEN 2016: Student, College of San Mateo NOW Student Harvard University Founder/CEO BuddyChecks Education: • Associate degree, political science and communications, College of San Mateo, 2017 • Pursuing bachelor's degree, political science (with a minor in computer science and communications), Harvard University, expected 2020 Tiannia Romero Petty Officer Second Class (E-5), Navy (2007-2013) THEN 2014: Student, University of North Carolina at Greensboro NOW English Teacher, West Forsyth High School, Clemmons, N.C. Age: 32 Education: Bachelor's degree, English education, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, 2014 Tavia Gilmore Sergeant (E-5), Marine Corps (2006-2010) Marine Corps Reserve (2011-2013) October 2012 July 2016

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