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VIDEO: Bonnie Lee Miley, Navy Veteran and Computer Engineering Senior, Benefits from SoldierStrong Scholarship

By Keith Pierce

Short on money, Bonnie Lee Miley left college and enlisted in the Navy in 1984. She served on active duty for six years as a cryptologic technician, a national intelligence-gathering position. After her honorable discharge, Miley was called back to active duty to provide support in a high-profile assignment at the Pentagon during Desert Shield and Desert Storm operations.

"I can't really talk about a lot of what I did at the Pentagon, but I was recalled because of my skillset in telecommunications," said Miley, now a senior majoring in computer engineering at Old Dominion University. "My biggest concern was my daughter. She was 3 and I had to sign custody away to my parents."

Miley later returned to her civilian work as an engineer for a private company. Miley, who still works professionally, is pursuing a degree to "finish what she started."

A student in the Batten College of Engineering and Technology, Miley is a member of the Engineering Ambassadors program, where she helps promote the college and conducts campus and lab tours. She also mentors other engineering students.

"The truth is, I mentor younger students because whether they know it or not, I'm learning more from them than I could ever teach them," Miley said. "But it is my hope that my background as a professional engineer inspires younger students to never give up."

Until she received a call from Anthony Dean, associate dean for research in the Batten College of Engineering and Technology, Miley was unaware of the $2,500-per-semester SoldierStrong scholarship, which is renewable for up to $5,000 per academic year.

"When I received the call from Dr. Dean, I was humbled," Miley said. "On this campus, if you open your eyes and listen, there are so many people willing to make the effort to help you succeed. Dr. Dean is one of those people."

The scholarship also has been renewed for last's year's recipient, Stephanie Primeaux, who is also a Navy veteran. Primeaux is a senior majoring in mechanical and aerospace engineering, as well as a part-time NASA intern and a mother of two.

"The SoldierScholar program is aimed at giving back to our veterans by helping them achieve their goals of higher education. To date, this important program has raised more than $500,000," said Chris Meek, co-founder and chairman of SoldierStrong. "We are proud of our service members and consider it a privilege to support those who have served and sacrificed for us take their next steps forward in life."

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