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Veteran advocate takes on new role at UAA

By Shannon Ballard Photojournalist: Jared Mazurek - 9:23 PM July 11, 2014
ANCHORAGE –

Nearly 2,100 veterans studied at UAA last year.

One of them is Nichole Grunwald — a mother of two, an Army Reserve member and an advocate to all military veterans on campus.

Veteran assistant is a new job for Grunwald, who graduated in December.

What she does at UAA’s Military and Veteran Community Resources Center is her passion.

“It’s a need that’s there and I have always had this desire to take care of people and provide guidance and just noticed that we were lacking services here,” she said.

Grunwald has a strong commitment to doing whatever she can to improve veterans’ experience on campus — simply because she loves to see people succeed.

“She put me at ease and I think that’s real important,” said Martin Padilla, a 58-year-old former Marine.

As someone who has transition to civilian life herself, Grunwald is perhaps the perfect person to help.

“If I could just get them through the door and help them through that transition, that that would help alleviate all the problems that they run into,” she said.

Grunwald’s biggest goals include expanding the campus military and veteran center and changing the stereotype that veterans are broken or a liability.

“They come with a lot of skills. They’re the perfect business leaders, the perfect industry leaders, so I want to change that image and really highlight the skills that they bring,” she said.

Serving those who’ve served. It’s a huge call to action and Grunwald has answered.

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