UWW student spotlight: Victor Nuñez

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A veteran of the Marine Corps Reserve, Victor Nuñez continued his education after returning from deployment in Iraq.  Today, Victor works as the Supply Chain Manager for Bueno Y Sano- a restaurant business, volunteers with the Veterans Education Project, and serves as the Vice President and Director of Veterans Advocacy Services.  His concentration: Public Relations.  His advisor: Ingrid Bracey.

Every non-traditional age student has a story. What’s your story?

I started going to UMass Amherst in 2000 and soon after my first semester I realized I was going to need money to pay for my schooling.  I considered the National Guard, ROTC, but I ended up enlisting in the Marine Corps Reserve on January 2, 2001.  Soon after finishing up my first year at UMass I headed out to Boot Camp in Paris Island, North Carolina.  Fifteen days later, I began to prepare for war.  I went to war, survived, and now I share my story with others through Veterans Education Project and I founded Veterans Advocacy Services, which provides free services to military Veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Why did you choose UMass Amherst UWW to complete your degree?

I was already familiar with UMass from my previous experience and UWW would allow me to get a degree in the field and work at the same time.  It allowed me to have a flexible schedule with family and work and school.  I was able to manage my time much better and I knew that by taking classes online I would be able to see my progress on the screen as the semester progressed.

What was the best part about being a UWW student for you?

I was able to spend more time with my 3 boys.  This allowed me to become more involved in their education and at the same I was finishing up my degree. The other great thing about UWW was that my advisor was with me every step of the way.  She was an integral part in realizing my goals.

What’s been your favorite class at UMass Amherst?

Writing About Experience UWW 370 is by far my favorite class of all time. "Writing About Experience" seemed impossible at first but with the assistance of my peers and the professor, the process of writing became addicting.  As the class progressed, I started to realize that writing is not so bad after all.  In the process of writing I was able to reflect on my career, which allowed me to fine tune some of my weaknesses.

What’s been the best part of earning credit for experience through the prior learning portfolio process?

The best part about the prior learning portfolio process was realizing what I have accomplished, and reflecting on that was a valuable asset in the process. 

What have been the benefits of taking your classes online? 

Online classes have allowed me to continue to work at Bueno Y Sano and volunteer at Veterans Advocacy Services without giving up my family time.  I was able to continue doing what I was doing career wise and at the same time I worked on my degree.

Tell us about your deployment.  Where did you go, what did you do, and how long were you there?

I was deployed to Iraq in 2004-2005 where I served with MWSS 472 Detachment Bravo out of Chicopee's Westover Air Base.  I was a combat engineer and part of my duties was to build 26 desert huts in the border of Iraq and Syria.  I was also tasked with mine clearing and I was assigned to be a "Guardian Angel" for a squad of Engineers. 

How do you balance work, school, and your deployment?

The key to balancing work, school, and deployment was to maintain focus on each individual task.  One of my strengths has been to manage my time wisely. 

What advice do you have for other students finishing their degrees?

1.  It takes time to finish your degree so chip away at it with patience.

2.  Take one day at a time and don’t look back, only look forward.

3.  The payoff at the end is much greater if you have a degree than if you don’t have one.

4.  Read all your textbooks and take notes.

What are your future plans professionally and personally? 

At the current moment I am the Supply Chain Manager at Bueno Y Sano, which is one of the local Mexican restaurants in Amherst.  I plan on opening up new Bueno Y Sanos in Massachusetts.  I am also the Vice President and Director of Veterans Advocacy Services, a non-profit organization that aims to provide free services to veterans of all eras in Massachusetts and 26 other U.S. states.  I plan on volunteering here as long as I am able to.

Tell readers something cool about yourself that no one would guess about you. 

I have been going to college for 10 years and this year I am finally graduating.