Radford Social Work student earns national fellowship to work on student veteran affairs
Juwell McClendon, a Radford University Master of Social Work candidate, has been named to the 2017 class of Veterans of Foreign Wars–Student Veteran Association (VFW-SVA) Legislative Fellows.
McClendon, who earned the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, during a four-year tour in the U.S. Navy, is graduate assistant at Radford’s Military Resource Center and doing her 600-hour, year-long internship with the Veterans Administration at a community-based outpatient clinic in Wytheville.
As a VFW-SVA Fellow, McClendon will participate in a ten-person team for a research project to be presented during legislative visits on Capitol Hill and at the annual VFW National Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. from Feb. 26-March 2.
“The VFW-SVA Fellowship is a great honor and will give me valuable advocacy experience at a new level,” said McClendon. “I spent the holiday break digging into policy, fact-finding and building my knowledge. The Fellowship has made me realize that policy is very black and white, so facts are needed.”
Mentored through the application process by Ken Wiseman, Associate Director of the National Legislative Services, who met her after speaking at a local VFW event, McClendon recognized her unique opportunity to combine her social work education and a personal passion.
“Being a veteran working toward my own education is an experience I have lived and I have a good friends who had trouble getting on their feet and reintegrating after getting out,” she said. “I have dedicated my life to working with student veterans and I appreciate the chance to jump right into the deep water now.”
As a VFW-SVA fellow, McClendon will advocate alongside VFW staff and represent Virginia in sharing issues facing today's student veterans. In conjunction the VFW National Legislative Committee, McClendon will meet with policy-makers from federal agencies responsible for implementing veterans' policy. After the VFW National Legislative Conference, McClendon will implement a tailored local advocacy plan in her home district, Virginia’s Ninth, and report to the Virginia VFW state convention, as well as VFW and SVA national offices about her experience.