Ryan Marquette: Making His Case
Through internships and leadership positions, a law school graduate and veteran takes on the legal profession.
From organizations to internships, Ryan Marquette L’22 explored different areas of law while pursuing a juris doctor at the College of Law and a master of public administration (M.P.A.) through the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Marquette, a United States Army veteran and active member of the Army National Guard, also got hands-on experience at the Betty and Michael D. Wohl Veterans Legal Clinic, the Children’s Rights and Family Law Clinic and the Criminal Defense Clinic, gaining exposure to three areas of law in which he previously had little experience.
Though there were veteran clinics at other law schools Marquette looked at, no other school does it quite like Syracuse, he says. “Their actions meet their words when they say that Syracuse University is the best place for veterans, and I am proud to be part of this community.”
Marquette knew he wanted to attend Syracuse University because of its commitment to veterans. With the Office of Veteran and Military Affairs and the D’Aniello Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF), Syracuse was the obvious choice, Marquette says. “Because of the amount of support that the University provides, it really facilitated an easy transition from the active-duty military into an advanced education.”
Their actions meet their words when they say that Syracuse University is the best place for veterans, and I am proud to be part of this community.—Ryan Marquette L’22
Outside of the classroom, Marquette was president of the College of Law’s Veterans Issues, Support Initiative and Outreach Network. For his efforts, Marquette was awarded Syracuse University’s 2021 Student Veterans Organization’s Best for Vets Award, which is presented to the student veteran who has done the most to help other student veterans succeed, both on and off campus, and who has gone far above and beyond for his fellow students.
Marquette urges all students to pursue their passions just as he did. “Understand that you are just a snapshot in the history of Syracuse; during that snapshot, embrace yourself in all that the University has to offer and pursue every passion that you have and any interest that you have while you’re here,” he says. “Overcommit to things that you’re passionate about, because at the end of the day, if you’re doing what you love, then you’re not actually working.”
Nadia Morris-Mitchell: Taking the Next Step
A veteran and post-traditional student advances her career through Syracuse University Global.
As a National Guard member, part-time fitness instructor and full-time employee, Nadia Morris-Mitchell ’24 doesn’t have a lot of time to spare. “I’m just that person who’s always running a million miles an hour,” she says. She had been interested in going back to school to gain greater management skills but was wary of the time constraints. So when a representative from Syracuse University came to speak with the veterans working with the U.S. Air Force at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base about continuing their education through flexible learning formats, she was intrigued.
Syracuse University Global’s flexibility offered just what she needed to finally take the leap. She’s now pursuing a degree in creative leadership through the College of Professional Studies and learning critical skills she can apply in any position anywhere. “I am hoping to learn how to better present myself in a position of leadership, and this program is a perfect avenue,” she says.
My supportive classmates, professors and Syracuse University Global all work together to help me meet my goals.—Nadia Morris-Mitchell ’24
In addition to the diverse course offerings and flexible learning formats, Morris-Mitchell has access to Syracuse University’s world-class faculty and comprehensive, student-focused academic support. “My online classes are very user-friendly,” she says. During group breakout sessions in her online courses, she connects with classmates, including several other veterans and active-duty military members. Attending classes with other students who share the same background gives Morris-Mitchell, who was in the Navy Construction Battalion, something besides academics to bond over.
The University’s commitment to veterans was a factor in her decision to attend Syracuse University. It was important to Morris-Mitchell—who was honored as a Hometown Hero at a women’s lacrosse game—to be associated with a university that understood the unique challenges of being a military veteran and made her feel highly regarded and respected.
Overall, working toward a degree through Syracuse University Global has been a great success for Morris-Mitchell. “Finding balance to get it all done is crucial,” she says. “My supportive classmates, professors and Syracuse University Global all work together to help me meet my goals.”
Brian Mixon: Protecting Our Nation’s Cyber Information
From the front lines to behind the computer, one cybersecurity administration online student works to keep Americans safe.
It’s not every person that would go back to school to earn their bachelor’s degree as a post-traditional student but that’s what Brian Mixon ’24 did. The U.S. Marine Corps and Army Reserve veteran is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity administration from the College of Professional Studies.
Mixon served as a mechanic in the Marine Corps for eight years, then joined the Army Reserve to train for a career in information technology. As he was advancing in rank in the Army Reserve, cybersecurity became more important to the nation. He took a yearlong active assignment with the U.S. Army Cyber Command, then was selected to join the Army Reserve’s first Cyber Protection Team with the Cyber Operations Group. After two years in that role and a total of 20 years of military service, Mixon retired to focus on his full-time career in information technology and spend more time with his family. He now works as a cyber analyst for the Marine Corps Operational Test and Evaluation Activity at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia, where he coordinates various cyber-test events as part of a team that provides Marine Corps officials with information needed to make informed decisions regarding critical resources and acquisitions.
I really feel like my professors are subject-matter experts in the fields they are teaching.—Brian Mixon ’24
While he was working with the Cyber Protection Team, Mixon took some cybersecurity classes to deepen his knowledge of the field, eventually enrolling in Syracuse University’s cybersecurity administration program. The online program gives him the flexibility he needs to continue working full time and spend time with his wife and three daughters in Virginia.
Mixon appreciates the expertise the faculty bring to their courses. “I really feel like my professors are subject-matter experts in the fields they are teaching,” he says. “That’s a big thing for me because throughout both my military and civilian careers I’ve been in situations where I didn’t always feel that I could go to my supervisor for subject-matter expertise.”
Mixon also appreciates the support he receives from the Office of Veteran and Military Affairs (OVMA). As an online student he receives regular correspondence from OVMA, which shared information with him about the Flanik Family Scholarship for Student Veterans. He was particularly honored to receive this scholarship because of the sacrifices his family has made for his military career. “When I hear ‘Thank you for your service,’ I consider ‘you’ to include my family,” he says.
Bana Miller: Supporting and Enriching the Veteran Community
How one alumna is using her experience as a military spouse—and her degree—for the greater good.
As a military spouse of 16 years, Bana Miller ’04 knows a thing or two about the challenges that come with moving due to assignments. She recently made her fifth move in seven years—this time to Seattle, where her husband, Lt. Col. Matt Miller, is now stationed.
Chief among those challenges, she says, is military spouse unemployment and underemployment. “It’s incredibly challenging for military spouses to thrive and flourish in their careers,” explains Miller, who majored in public relations at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and marketing at the Martin J. Whitman School of Management. “I credit my education at Syracuse University for giving me a really solid foundation and putting me in the best position possible for thriving in my career when I did become a military spouse,” says Miller, who was selected for the prestigious Stand-To Veteran Leadership Program, an initiative of the George W. Bush Institute that serves military-connected individuals who are motivated to broaden their skillset, knowledge, network and influence across the country.
Although she did not ultimately enroll in the program, Miller considered joining Onward to Opportunity, a career skills program offered by the D’Aniello Institute for Veterans and Military Families that provides civilian career training, professional certifications and employment services support to transitioning service members, members of the Reserves or National Guard, veterans and military spouses. This is one of the University’s many services for veterans and their families.
I credit my education at Syracuse University for giving me a really solid foundation and putting me in the best position possible for thriving in my career when I did become a military spouse.—Bana Miller ’04
Miller is the chief marketing officer for Team Red, White and Blue (Team RWB), a nonprofit that enriches the lives of veterans by connecting them to their community through physical and social activity. She believes deeply in Team RWB’s mission, especially because of its focus on the health and wellness of veterans. “I love looking at the effects and the correlation between physical health and mental health and being able to serve the whole veteran and not looking at veterans and military family members as broken or damaged, but as really vital parts of the community. I appreciate getting to serve the military veteran community in my own way,” Miller says.