Meet a Roadrunner: Brandi Cuevas '12 shares her story of military, veteran and student life
(Oct. 26, 2016) -- Meet Brandi Cuevas ’12. In a new book, “Adapt and Overcome: Essays on the Student Veteran Experience,” she and other UTSA veterans describe the unique challenges of transitioning into higher education.
Born in Salt Lake City to conservative parents, Cuevas never imagined that she would join the Army and make a lifelong career in the military. As she recounts in her “Adapt and Overcome” chapter, she wasn’t sure where life would take her despite being a great student in high school. The fall after graduation, though, she opened herself up to new experiences, considering for the first time an opportunity with the U.S. Army Reserve.
“Like I wrote in the book, I couldn’t deny that feeling to serve,” said Cuevas. “The moment I signed on with the Army, I was put on a path that would lead me to my calling.”
In the Army, Cuevas says she came into her own, quickly rising in the ranks to become a sergeant in the Reserve and gaining a strong background in the medical field.
She married her high school sweetheart, also a member of the military, and had two children. She traveled the country, juggling family, civilian and military responsibilities.
In 2008, Cuevas decided that it was time to expand her skills. When her husband got a job in San Antonio, she applied to UTSA.
“I used my military benefits to return to school and do what no one else in my family had done before,” she said. “I would graduate from college and create a civilian life for myself that could run parallel to my military duties.”
UTSA opened a whole new world for Cuevas.
While a student, her husband, Benjamin, was deployed to Afghanistan, and she was left to raise their two children while he was gone. Despite the challenge, her fellow Roadrunners were there to help.
“I would often bring my kids with me to classes,” said Cuevas. “The faculty and students would be so understanding. They would all work with me to ensure I succeeded.”
In particular, the UTSA Veterans Certification Office became an important source of information and guidance for her. Thanks to its help, Cuevas learned she could earn her bachelor of science in kinesiology from UTSA in record time due to her past training and experience. Later, she learned she could sign up for a dual degree and earn credits toward a bachelor of arts in psychology, which she did.
At the same time, Cuevas became involved at UTSA. She joined the Health Ambassadors, a community outreach organization dedicated to the promotion of health and wellness. She became a student researcher and authored a paper that paved the way for her to attend international conferences. She also forged a close relationship with the UTSA Student Veterans Association, which helps fellow student veterans adapt to civilian life. She continues to stay connected as an alumna.
Cuevas graduated summa cum laude with two degrees. She went on to receive a master’s degree from another university and now works as a licensed marriage and family therapist with her own practice. Today, she serves as a company commander in New York for the Army Reserve.
Cuevas credits UTSA and its military-friendly culture for helping her succeed.
“There were moments where I was ready to throw in the towel, but the assistance and guidance I received helped me stay strong,” said Cuevas. “I could not have done all this without the support of my husband, UTSA faculty, family and friends, and my daughters.”
The UTSA Office of Veteran and Military Affairs is hosting a day full of outreach events and activities by the U.S. Navy as part of a larger Navy presence in San Antonio called Navy Week with various events in the community through Feb. 25.Student Union Paseo and Convocation Center entrance, Main Campus
Join this interactive play that is a courtroom drama and the audience is the jury. Discussion and will follow.Student Union, Retama Auditorium (SU 2.02.02), Main Campus
Langston Clark, UTSA assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology, Health, and Nutrition will discuss exploring the historical context for the role of black athletes in contemporary social movements.John Peace Library, Assembly Room (JPL 4.04.22), Main Campus
The UTSA African American Studies program invites speakers from the leading African American Fraternities and Sororities for a panel discussion of the history of each organization and to enlighten the audience about the community service, academic purpose, professionalism and ethical roots of each group.Student Union, Mesquite Room (SU 2.01.24), Main Campus
MuTe Fest is a celebration of original music and technology. Three days of concerts, sessions, and informative lectures will offer a unique experience of musical works created by fellow UTSA students and the chance to gain valuable knowledge about music technology.Art Building, Music Tech Lab (Arts 3.01.30B), Main Campus
UTSA Libraries hosts Assistant Professor Ian Caine for his lecture, Architectural Postcards from Space, as part of the popular Pizza + Research series. Pizza will be served while supplies last.Buena Vista Street Building (BVB 2.304), Downtown Campus
The theme of this year’s symposium is Black & Brown Futures. The free event will give UTSA students and the community the opportunity to meet and hear national scholars talk about current research and academic trends relevant to the lives of African Americans in the United States.Student Union, Denman Room (SU 2.01.28), Main Campus
Registration is open now for this family-friendly and dog-friendly run that supports the UTSA Alumni Association scholarship fund.Convocation Center, Main Campus