MFRI’s Focus Forward Fellowship 2019 cohort selected

The Military Family Research Institute (MFRI) at Purdue University is proud to announce the selection of the 2019 Focus Forward Fellowship cohort. The program will be held July 17-20 at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

After completing the residency, Fellows will engage with their cohort in an online community during the 2019–2020 academic year. MFRI covers the cost of travel, food, lodging, activities and materials.

MFRI received applications from 129 eligible candidates for this year’s Fellowship. After undergoing a competitive selection process, 20 women were accepted to participate from 16 different colleges and universities. The women represent four branches of service and many areas of academic study.

Fellows must hold an honorable, medical or general discharge from the U.S. military or currently be serving. They must be sophomores, juniors or seniors; or they may be, pursuing a master’s degree. All accepted Fellows are maintaining a 2.75 GPA or better.

Since 2016, the Fellowship has been a highlight for women student veterans and service members across the nation. Like the women who came before them, the 2019 cohort will build leadership skills, connect with career mentors, develop skills that foster their academic and professional goals, understand and maximize their individual strengths, and build a supportive community of peers.

Jeni Brett, a 2018 Fellow, remembers her acceptance into the program. “I had so much joy and apprehension all at once. I was excited for the opportunity to better myself with the help of other women who had been in the same situations, and a little nervous because I’m not used to connecting with other veterans. At the end of day one I had 19 new sisters, incredible mentors and a much better understanding of my self-worth. I am so glad that I allowed myself to be vulnerable and accept this gift of fellowship.”

Betty Moseley Brown, U.S. Marine Corps veteran, will serve as the Fellowship’s opening keynote speaker on Wednesday evening and Tracy Crow, author of “It’s My Country Too: Women’s Military Stories from the American Revolution to Afghanistan” will lead sessions on the Saturday of the program.

For more information about the program visit bit.ly/fwdfellows. Contact Keara Ludiker at kludiker@purdue.edu or call 765-494-0048. Connect with MFRI on Twitter at @MFRIPurdue and use #FWDFellows to join the conversation.

2019 Focus Forward Fellowship Cohort

  • Carine Bray, Regent University, divinity, Navy
  • Katie Bresnan, Gonzaga University, environmental studies, Navy
  • Regina Campbell, Oklahoma State University, natural resource ecology and management, Army
  • Jessica Candelo, Troy University, clinical mental health counseling, Marine Corps
  • Rita Case, Regis University, organizational leadership, Navy
  • Sheila Desinat, Broward College, supervision and management, Army
  • Sandra Farbrother, The University of Toledo, accounting, Marine Corps
  • Kori Flores, Regent University, paralegal studies, Navy
  • Deloris Hope Giger, Wayland Baptist University, psychology, Air Force
  • Vonda Hopkins, University of South Florida, personal finance, Navy
  • Joni Hughes, Northeast State Community College, business, Army
  • Earma Jean Lovett, Purdue University, human services, Army
  • Venette Melo, Gonzaga University, clinical mental health counseling, Marine Corps
  • Amanda Nicks, Clemson University, criminal justice, Navy
  • Jennifer Puentes, Florida International University, public administration, Navy
  • Brittany Shapiro, Johns Hopkins University, population, family and reproductive health, Navy
  • Morgan Torres, Purdue University, law and society and political science, Army
  • Sheena Van Ornum, University of Nebraska Omaha, public management, Air Force
  • Rontach Washington, Florida International University, business administration, Army
  • Nicole Wise-Pruitt, University of Central Arkansas, accounting, Navy