Mariceli Serrano: Student Veteran of the Month
“The Army will always be a part of who I am,” says Mariceli Serrano.
Serrano spent seven years in the U.S. Army Reserves, serving as a public affairs broadcast journalist for four years and three years as a psychological operations specialist. She was a journalist in the reserves, producing and narrating training videos and military ceremonies, as well as filling in as a photographer. As a psychological operations specialist, she analyzed target populations and leveraged data to develop marketing and media products.
“The Army provided me with tremendous opportunities to get over certain fears, discover strengths and develop valuable skills that have helped me to this day,” she said.
During her time in the service, she achieved the rank of staff sergeant (E-6) and deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. She was awarded the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, two Army Commendation Medals, an Army Achievement Medal, an Army Good Conduct Medal and the Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal.
“Throughout my military career, I was blessed with great leaders and battle buddies who pushed me beyond what I thought I was capable of and helped me grow, whether it was through wise words or just pushing me into the deep end and forcing me to swim,” she said.
“I met some of the greatest people in the military; people from all walks of life that I’m proud to call my friends, family even.”
Serrano started graduate school at UIC in 2012. She will graduate in December with a master’s in business administration, with concentrations in marketing and entrepreneurship.
“I wanted to be in Chicago and take advantage of my education benefits,” she said. “UIC offered both, as well as a good business program for someone with no business background.”
She is a marketing and design graduate assistant at the Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies and has a work-study position at the UIC Office of Student Veterans Affairs. She was public affairs officer for the Student Veterans Association and a member of the Innovation Incubator.
Serrano received the Chancellor’s Student Service Award for her work with the Student Veterans Association, including coordinating a veterans’ art exhibit and a resource fair. She is on the board of directors of Chicago Veterans, a nonprofit that aims to unify the veteran community in Chicago through social and networking events.
“I plan on staying involved in the veteran community,” she said. “There’s also a new business in my future with a focus on design.”
• Aneta Murphy is vice president of the UIC Student Veterans Association.