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Human Resources Specialist

Aquila Bernard

Photo of Aquila at a desk

After serving over 7 years in the military, I decided to pursue my education full-time. I went to school at night while stationed in Hawaii, Iraq, Virginia and Washington. I really wanted to finish my degree, so I was grateful for the Post 9/11 GI Bill education benefits. I studied at Saint Martin's University in Washington State and received a bachelors' in Finance and Masters in Business Administration. My first job after the military was with the Washington State government as a fiscal analyst. I decided I wanted more education because I wanted my own business. Since I am also a disabled veteran, I qualified for Vocational Rehabilitation. My vocational rehabilitation counselor, Daniel Crosby, helped me to further my skills with more education. I went to South Puget Sound Community College to enhance my skills in accounting and business management practices. I have earned a Green Belt in Lean Six Sigma and was a small business owner.

Being that I am also a military spouse, my husband has been reassigned to Fort Myer, Virginia. My Vocational Rehabilitation counselor introduced me to the Non-Paid Veterans Work Experience Program to help me decide on a career path while living in the D.C. area. This program is available to any Veteran who qualifies for Vocational Rehabilitation. This program gives veterans the opportunity to volunteer with an agency for developmental training in multiple areas for example human resources, finance and operations. Once I applied, I was immediately contacted by the Veterans Program Coordinator at the Small Business Administration (SBA), Kathy Mitcham. She was very inviting and informative. I interviewed with the SBA for a volunteer opportunity and was immediately given one of the greatest opportunities in my career.

Now I am in a career ladder developmental position as a Human Resources Specialist for Special Emphasis Hires. I am truly thankful to the Veteran's Administration for Daniel Crosby and the Small Business Administration for Kathy Mitcham, for all they have done for me and my career. I encourage anyone who is uncertain about their path outside the military to take advantage of all opportunities to develop oneself. My small token of advice is to take advantage of the opportunity and get an education. Sometimes we feel we deserve more than we can actually substantiate.


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