VTEC. By veterans. For veterans.
Meet the Veterans to Energy Careers team.
Dr. Patricia Reily
US NAvy Veteran |
A former senior naval officer, Patricia's Navy career encompassed a wide array of jobs in command, operations, installations management, human resources, recruiting, program management, education and training. Currently, she is the Principal Investigator for Veterans to Energy Careers. In fact, it was her vision and tireless advocacy that brought VTEC to life.
Previously, Patricia was the director of the Troops to Engineers Program at SDSU and project director of SDSU’s partnership with the Office of Naval Research (ONR) to engage student veterans in Energy System Evaluation Program (ESTEP) projects. She was also an Adjunct Professor in the Colleges of Business and Engineering at San Diego State University (SDSU) and the University of San Diego (USD), and is currently the Director of Veterans Services at California State University San Marcos.
Ericka Paez, m.s.w.
Us Army Veteran |
Ericka is the Project Coordinator on the Office of Naval Research VTEC grant. She provides direction and oversight for the program. With her background in social work, she provides the theoretical framework from which the team and program operates: strengths-based and focused on the whole person.
Ericka’s passion for connecting the veteran community to resources and helping them define success stems from many years navigating the often difficult VA systems. After a knee injury had her attending 150 medical appointments in one year, she realized that making it in the world of veteran resources requires the ability to ask the right questions, connect with the right people, and then share that information to others who could use it. Through her encounters with VA education, healthcare, and benefits and compensation, she has built up a strong network of individuals who are ready to assist student veterans in the most efficient way possible. Her goal is to be a part of helping to alleviate the suffering of others through information sharing, resource brokering, and mentoring other veterans through transition to civilian life!
Joshua Loop, M.S.
Us Coast Guard Veteran
Technical Programs Manager
Joshua is responsible for cultivating collaborative partnerships between higher education, industry and government, leveraging their collective resources to establish and provide pathways for veterans to attain the necessary training, experience and education to successfully transition into a civilian career.
“This opportunity allows me to do two things I love: helping other veterans and getting involved in the sustainable energy sector. It is very rewarding to be able to work with other veterans and help them prepare for and navigate their transition to civilian life. Prior to separating from the Coast Guard, I didn’t fully appreciate how much more I could have done to prepare myself for transition. When I relocated to the San Diego area, I was gratefully surprised by the overwhelming amount of support available from groups actively reaching out to veterans and active duty personnel to assist them with transitioning. I am excited to be able to pay it forward.”
US Marine Corps Veteran
Veterans Retention Counselor
Moses provides professional development and retention counseling services for student veterans and manages interns in VTEC.
“My transition was not easy; after separation I went from handling millions of dollars’ worth of humanitarian aid to scanning cards at LA Fitness to getting fired from every job I had. Going through my transition, it was due to the amazing help of the veteran community that I was able to find my way, and the main fuel for what I do is that I just wanted to give back in the same way that so many gave to me. When I began my college career, I was immediately thrust into advocating for veterans, and loved every single moment of it. In the years I’ve been able to advocate for veterans from the local level up to the national level, and I’ve been able to gain enough experience to insight to understand that all I want to do is work with students one on one. Student success and veteran success is what drives me, and has been my professional life’s work since 2008.”
US Marine Corps Veteran
Outreach & Communications Specialist
She cultivates relationships with universities, military education and transition offices, nonprofits, regional business chambers and military/veteran advisory councils and committees to identify and market opportunities to assist student veterans in their professional development and transition to sustainable careers.
“After separation from active duty, I quickly realized that the transition class provided by the military did not adequately prepare me for what I would face. Particularly the loss of identity, compounded by adjusting to life as a civilian and a full-time student and employee. In the years since, I’ve been fortunate to connect with advocates and resources across the nation that assist veterans with reintegration. I’ve dedicated my life to sharing those resources (and lessons) to empower other veterans to be the best versions of themselves - for themselves, their families and their communities.”