2017 veterans in global leadership fellows Meet the next generation of veteran leaders

Veterans in Global Leadership fellows class of 2017(Courtesy of Veterans in Global Leadership)

By Matt Saintsing

Each year, Veterans in Global Leadership inducts a new class of fellows that are rising stars in the veteran community.

Propelling student veterans on a path to leadership, this year’s fellows are diverse and have a wide range of backgrounds and interests.

Here are a few of the nation’s future veteran leaders.


Austin Hudgins

Austin served seven years in the U.S. Air Force, which includes three deployments overseas as an all-source intelligence analyst.

austin Meet the next generation of veteran leaders

(Austin Hudgins/Veterans in Global leadership)

Fluent in Mandarin, Japanese, and Manchu, Hudgins is a two-time recipient of the U.S. State Department Critical Language Scholarship to study Mandarin in Suzhou and X’ian, China.

He holds a B.A. from Rutgers University in Chinese and Cultural Anthropology. Currently, he is a part-time consultant with an international pharmaceutical corporation, working as a corporate security strategist.

He is an Ed.M. candidate at Rutgers University’s Graduate School of Education.


Joe Whimple

whimple Meet the next generation of veteran leaders

(Courtesy of Joe Whimple)

Joe served as a human resource/operations supervisor in the U.S. Army. He recently graduated from Pace and will pursue a dual MBA in human resource management and international business. A transgender man, Joe is passionate about assisting the LGBT community. He recently completed a “Mission Continues” fellowship, volunteering at a youth LGBT homeless shelter.

“Learning about the various career paths and perspectives from several successful professionals caused me to think outside the box,” Said Whimple. “The connections I made throughout the orientation are valuable beyond words.”

After participating in a VA work study for nearly two years, Joe landed a position with the New York City’s Department of Veteran Affairs’ healthcare human resource management department. Joe hopes to head a diversity and inclusion department for a major corporation to ensure employment equality.

Maureen Elias

maureen headshot 1 Meet the next generation of veteran leaders

(Courtesy of Maureen Elias)

Maureen served in the U.S. Army from 2001-2006 as a counterintelligence agent. A graduate from Campbell University, Maureen is pursuing a Master’s in Mental Health Counseling at Bowie State University in Bowie, MD.

“Through the training and mentorship of the Veterans in Global Leadership program, I am working to become a thought leader in mental health. The connections I have made will help me get a seat at the table,” Said Elias. “Veterans in Global Leadership is truly investing in high achieving student veterans to cultivate a new generation of leaders.”

In January, Maureen was selected to be a High Ground Veterans Advocacy Fellow. Her advocacy lead to her current employment on the Vietnam Veterans of America Veterans Health Council.

Click here to learn more about the Veterans in Global Leadership Fellowship

Connect: @MattBSaintsing | Matt@ConnectingVets.com

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