Each year Student Veterans of America choose an exceptional student Veteran as Student Veteran of the Year. This year, they narrowed it down to ten finalists, announcing the winner at the end of their national conference.

Student Veterans of America’s Student Veteran of the Year is someone who exemplifies the qualities of a servant leader. Student Veteran of the Year is a current SVA chapter executive with a demonstrated record of significantly improving their chapter, campus, and community over the past academic year. Student Veteran of the Year personifies SVA’s mission of supporting yesterday’s warriors, today’s scholars, and tomorrow’s leaders, with evident respect from their colleagues. Student Veteran of the Year is the public face and representative of the 1.1 million student veterans in higher education. We spoke with last year’s receipient, Kate Tillotson earlier last year.

This week, we are spotlighting 7-8 of this year’s finalists, including the person that was awarded Student Veteran of the Year. Today, we learn from two Marine Veterans, Aaron Slatton and Kirsten Battocchio. Each will tell us about military service, leading a Veterans group on campus, and best practices for campus outreach.

Aaron Slatton is a Marine Corps Veteran. During his time in the Marines, he deployed to Thailand for the Cobra Gold multinational exercise, as well as deploying to Afghanistan in 2012 in support of OEF II. After completing his enlistment, he attended IPFW and completed his Bachelor’s degree in Business Management. In 2016, he became the VA School Certifying Official for Indiana Tech where he am currently completing his MBA in Business Management and will graduate in 2018.

Kirsten Battocchio graduated from Bethel High School in 2008 and enlisted in the USMC in 2009. After training, PFC Battocchio executed orders to Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 12 in Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan in 2010. She served as an Aviation Maintenance Administrative Clerk and was promoted to Cpl by 2011. In 2012, Cpl Battocchio was accepted to attend Marine Corps Embassy Security Guard School in Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia. She served as a Marine Security Guard at the U.S. Embassies in Colombo, Sri Lanka; Kampala, Uganda and Bridgetown, Barbados from 2012 to 2015. She was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps as a Sgt in May 2015. Upon her return to the states, she enrolled in Manhattan College in the Bronx, New York where she is currently a Government and International Studies double-major with a Concentration in Africa and the Middle East. In addition to her studies, she has been inducted in the Sigma Iota Rho International Honors Society and Pen and Sword elite leadership Society, represented the U.S. on the Security Council at the National Model UN Conference, and is the President of the Student Veterans Organization. She spent the summer of 2017 in D.C. as a participant of The Washington Center’s VET Initiative and interned on Capitol Hill with Senator Blumenthal’s office where she worked directly for the Military Legislative Assistant and defense team. She is currently 1 of 5 Policy Liaisons for SVA and is expected to graduate in May 2018

The #VApodcast is now available in iTunes, Stitcher Radio, Google Play, and Spotify. Search “Borne the Battle” in your podcast app of choice to subscribe.

Share this story

Published on Jan. 9, 2018

Estimated reading time is 2.7 min.

Views to date: 171

More Stories

  • VA has simplified and streamlined the application process for medical debt relief, allowing Veterans better access. Apply for and receive medical debt relief now.

  • Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers has expanded to now include caregivers of eligible Veterans of all service eras.

  • In the aftermath of Hurricanes Fiona and Ian, VA has benefits and resources for Veterans and families impacted by this natural disaster.