Former U.S. Army healthcare specialist begins 2022-2023 term
James Miceli, a medical laboratory science and philosophy dual major, and former healthcare specialist in the United States Army, has been selected as UMass Dartmouth’s veterans assistant for the 2022-2023 academic year, succeeding Alexander Thibedeau.
The veterans assistant is tasked with assisting and educating military students on benefits and the transition into academic life through the veterans assistance office, located in Charlton 301, open 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays, and 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. on Thursdays.
"When I re-enrolled in UMass Dartmouth after the military, it was a really strange time because I didn’t want to make the military my identity, but I didn’t feel like I was having the same experience as other students either," said Miceli. "The previous veterans assistants were able to help me navigate that particularly difficult time, so having the opportunity to do that for others is extremely humbling."
Miceli encourages veterans to visit the veterans assistance office during office hours and utilize the Veterans Reading Room of the library (LIB 354), open to all veteran and currently-serving students. Veterans may also feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions, concerns, or just to introduce yourself.
"The Student Veterans of America chapter at UMassD is also very active and an amazing way to make valuable connections and let off some steam," said Miceli. "We’ve done all sorts of events from graveyard cleanups to axe-throwing, so I really encourage veterans to look into it.
"Most of all, I’d encourage veterans and service-members that don’t always feel as connected to the military identity to reach out. Veterans, like us all, are incredibly diverse and unique. There’s no specific personality that is shared by every veteran and I think that stereotype can sometimes get in the way of people accessing things they’ve rightfully earned. I’m thrilled to see so many new faces in our community this year, but I also hope to see more of the student veterans who have been here utilize these resources, too."
Miceli, who is also a chapter president for Student Veterans of America, the Student Association for Medical Laboratory Science, and the Medical Sciences Laboratory Research Association, chose to attend UMassD because of the Medical Laboratory Science program, which he feels prepares him for his ideal career in clinical research.
"I was extremely fortunate to work under exceptional physicians and physician’s assistants in the Army. Bringing that experience to the classroom reminds me that patient samples are from actual people. Sometimes it’s easy to look in the microscope at a rare disease and forget what it does, but it’s important to remember that behind that sample is a human being going through something terrible that they have entrusted us to help with – it gets a lot easier to stay motivated from that perspective," said Miceli.
As of Oct. 5, Miceli has also been selected to participate in the highly competitive Student Veteran's of America Leadership Institute, where he will work with student veteran leaders across the country to develop leadership skills.