Serving After Service Panel Discussion
Thursday, April 8, 2021
12:00 PM-1:00 PM
A commitment to volunteer service and civic engagement remains a valuable part of the lives of many veterans when they transition to civilian life. Members of Drexel’s military-affiliated community are no exception. Hear stories of some of our military-affiliated alumni and students who continue to actively participate in bettering their communities, leading non-profit organizations and finding ways to keep others safe.
This event is co-sponsored by the Drexel Veterans Alumni Network (DVAN) and the Office of Veterans Student Services (OVSS).
MEET THE SPEAKERS
Olivia McDonald grew up near Boston, MA. She served in the Marine Corps for four years as a combat correspondent which included 9 months overseas with the Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force - Crisis Response unit, operating throughout Africa. Since moving to Philadelphia almost 3 years ago, Olivia has enjoyed volunteering her time with Team Foster, SharingExcess, and most recently with the Learn@LeBow program mentoring high school students on leadership concepts. She also worked for Drexel’s Office of Veteran Student Services throughout her time as a student. Olivia graduated in March finishing her bachelors from LeBow where she studied Organizational Management and Marketing. She is now the operations manager with the Greater Philadelphia Veterans Network.Kristin Leone ‘19 is a nurse of 23 years with experience in pediatric and adult critical care and is also a nursing instructor for Drexel & Gwynedd Mercy University. She served 11 years in the US Navy Nurse Corps with a deployment to Kandahar, Afghanistan in 2015. Kristin is also an advocate for homeless female Veterans and serves as the Vice-President on the board of directors for HAVEN Women, a homeless female Veterans shelter. She hosts her own TV show "Breaking Barriers" that films in Cherry Hill, NJ.
Anthony Van Luton ’21 is a current Drexel student. He was born into a military family in Philadelphia, and as a child, lived on several military bases in the tristate area, including McGuire Air Force Base, Fort Dix and the Philadelphia Naval Base. At the age of 17, after graduating from University City High School, he joined the Air Force (USAF) and was honorably discharged in 1976. Due to the personal challenges he experienced in returning to civilian life, he became committed to supporting fellow veterans as they did the same. He enrolled at Drexel, in the behavioral health program, in 2012. In 2018,with the partnership of Habitat for Humanity, he began the process of renovating his home to make it a safe space for veterans in recovery. Anthony is a certified peer specialist and hopes to support veterans in recovery and in the justice system. He lives in West Philadelphia and is just nine credits away from earning his Drexel degree.
Jessica Wisniewski-Hagen ’21 served as a mechanical engineer in the U.S. Navy. After the military, she completed a bachelor’s degree from Florida Atlantic University and is currently working towards her master’s degree in legal studies at Drexel. She works in project management for veteran-owned ALLY Construction Services and is involved in various veteran-focused non-profits, such as Action Tank, a group of veterans that tackles tough problems in Philadelphia, and Team Foster, which is dedicated to supporting and rehabilitating injured combat veterans by raising funds to partner them with service dogs.
Kahlil Wyche ’19 has been connecting people and products through technology for more than a decade. As the CEO and business strategist of KGW Enterprises, Wyche uses his expertise to empower local business owners to enhance their marketing and revenue strategies through various in-person workshops and online trainings. He is also the CEO and executive chef of Catering To Your Whims, which builds on his experience as a sous chef in the U.S. Army. Eager to share his talents and resources with others, Wyche has devoted his time to empowering the next generation of leaders, through teaching and mentoring. He runs a non-profit organization called Chef Kares, that helps empower at-risk youth, and provides for the welfare of displaced people, families and senior citizens.