Laura Kubik is the university’s veteran education benefits liaison. She served 11 years in the Army, doing a year-long tour in Korea and two tours in Iraq.
She had been in the process of enlisting in the military on September 11, 2001, and was sent away in case the facility was also a target. When she returned on September 12, she knew the environment was different, that she’d be serving through war. “I looked around the room and said, ‘These are my comrades,’” Laura remembers. “I felt even more empowered to want to go.”
While both of her grandfathers were in the Navy and she’s from “essentially a military family,” Laura did not enlist right out of high school. “I joined when I was 30 to get myself further ahead, get my education for free and get my son his braces when he needed them. I was willing to sacrifice,” she said.
As a signal support system specialist, Laura installed communications technology — radios, computers, phone wiring, and blue force tracking systems. “From there, we just maintained them. It was a fun job,” she said.
After going through some turmoil in her personal life, Laura moved to Silver City, where she has family and friends. “I recent bought a home here and am planning on staying. My son had stayed here while I was in Iraq, and he’s coming back as well. He might be coming to school,” she said.
Laura said she feels fulfilled in her position at WNMU. “Working with veterans is pretty much what I wanted to do most of my life. I didn’t know that,” she said. “Being in an environment where people are improving their lives is awesome.”
She has observed that the student veterans at WNMU using GI Bill benefits are hard-working and dedicated. “I know what makes us tick and I appreciate that camaraderie,” she said. “WNMU is striving to put the need of veterans’ in their educations first and foremost. We are willing to go the extra mile and I like that.”