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Mission Accomplished: Two Student Veterans Share Their Stories of Sacrifice and Success

by Janelle Hill Jun 10, 2019

In honor of Flag Day on June 14, we’re spotlighting two student veterans who went above and beyond to help build the student-veteran experience at DeSales.

The road to graduation day is never easy. But for student veterans, it can be downright daunting. Just ask Shannon Dodson and Nancy Tyson. The two served their country, married, and became mothers before ever stepping foot into a college classroom. But once they did, their mission was clear. 

“All of us student veterans had a new mission—to graduate,” says Dodson, a supply chain management major. “As brothers and sisters in the military, when you’re on a mission, you drag, push, pull, kick, scream, crying, and laughing all the way to the finish line.” 

Dodson worked in logistics in the Air Force, deploying several times during Operation Enduring Freedom. Tyson joined the Marine Corps after high school, working her way up to become one of the few female drill instructors. 

Both come from military families but being a woman in a male-dominated environment in the late 1990s had its share of challenges. Dodson’s first station had just one female for every 33 males. When Tyson enlisted in the Marines, women made up just two percent of the Corps. 

“It literally took me about six months to convince my recruiter that I was capable of being a Marine,” she says. “Out of 96 women that started basic training, only 46 of us graduated.”

The two women took similar paths from the military to marriage and motherhood. But the idea of getting a college degree and starting a career was never far from their minds. 

DeSales Alumni: Read the full article in this summer’s DeSales Magazine or visit this July.