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Alumni and Friends Making an Impact

Shelby Dennhardt, wearing a red Dayton Flyers shirt and hat, standing in the Military and Veteran Programs and Services Center.

First an airman, now a Flyer

Shelby Dennhardt's life in the U.S. Air Force was regimented; he served, worked, lived and ate with his unit for four years. So when he left the Air Force, he felt listless and isolated, until he found UD's Military and Veteran Programs and Services.

"It was a big thing for me when I left active duty in March (of this year). I wasn't accustomed to living in public. The whole summer I had the sense that it was a vacation and I was waiting to get the call to come back," Dennhardt said. "It took me a while to feel like a civilian again."

Following a deployment in Jordan and years of working with ammunition, Dennhardt was released from active duty six months early through the U.S. Department of Defense's SkillBridge job training program.

Dennhardt secured an internship with the Strategic Ohio Council for Higher Education where he worked for UD's Military and Veteran Programs and Services promoting the office to potential UD students at education fairs and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

Now he's a junior studying communications and a student worker with UD's Military and Veteran Programs and Services. He's also vice president of UD's chapter of Student Veterans of America. With an expected graduation date of May 2025, he will be the first person in his immediate family to graduate college.

Dennhardt said UD's resources and community for veterans and military-affiliated people made UD feel like the best place to further his education. He added that the internship and now his stint as a student worker helps him feel connected to his roots by "serving veterans with their higher education goals."

"It makes me feel validated to support the community I was once a part of, and now I'm in a new community with the veterans," Dennhardt said. "Getting to work with veterans who have similar stories and goals helped me transition. And it's nice to be a part of the team again."

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