UNI business college honors student veterans and those who serve
In honor of Veterans Day, we want to recognize all business faculty and students who have served or are currently serving our country. Here are a few of their stories.
Austin Wood (Accounting and MIS)
Austin Wood served in the Marine Corps from 2014 to 2018. Stationed in Camp Pendleton, California, Wood's job was in radio communications for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS). Wood started attending UNI in spring 2020.
Last summer, Wood lost a full-time job and picked up a part-time gig. He figured this past spring was a good time as any to start school using his G.I. Bill. He later found out UNI's highly successful and accredited business college.
"The military gave me confidence and perseverance," Wood said. "UNI and the military have a similar aspect of pushing people to do great things and try your best."
Chris Lukasiewicz, Instructor of Economics
The military was a career for Chris Lukasiewicz, who joined the Army as a second lieutenant in 1985. He spent the next 25 years serving in various leadership positions and attending several military schools, like the Airborne course and Ranger school. He served abroad in conflicts like Operation Joint Endeavor in Bosnia Herzegovina and Kosovo's liberation.
Lukasiewicz retired from the military in 2009 and joined UNI to work in the ROTC program. He began as an adjunct professor at UNI in fall 2009 and is now a full-time economics instructor.
"Both the military and my work at UNI have provided me with careers that are enjoyable, challenging and help provide for my family," Lukasiewicz said. "One of my lifetime goals was to teach and impart the knowledge and experience that I've gained to others. What better way to do that than to teach college-aged students."
Scott Brough (Accounting and Finance)
Scott Brough is currently serving in the Iowa Army National Guard as a combat engineer. As a Cedar Falls native, he decided to attend UNI because it was close to home, and he wanted to pursue a four-year degree.
He recently was able to help the Iowa community through his role as well. After the derecho late this summer, Brough helped Cedar Rapids move roughly 2.25 million pounds of debris to restore power and clear roadways. He eventually wants to obtain his master's of business administration after his bachelor's degree.
"The military has made it possible for me to attend school because the debt was something I was very concerned with," Brough said. "The military instilled the discipline I needed to be successful in my school work, and the UNI faculty have been great teachers and leaders whom I can look up to and learn a lot from, especially in what it takes to be a successful leader in these crazy times."
Connor Grunwald (Marketing and Supply Chain Management)
Connor Grunwald served from 2013 to 2018 in the United States Marine Corps in Camp Pendleton, California. He was a ground radio repairman and fixed defective radios. He spent deployments in several countries, including Japan, Australia, Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates.
He started attending UNI in fall 2018, hoping to obtain a practical degree in business. His younger brother had just finished his second year at the school before Grunwald applied.
"The military has taught me to push through no matter how tough it gets, as well as time management, and school has solidified that further," Grunwald said.
Joseph Thrall, (Management Information Systems)
Joseph Thrall is in the Iowa Army National Guard, having joined in March 2020, and stationed at the Waterloo Armory. Thrall grew up in the Cedar Valley, and he had heard that UNI had a quality business program, so he enrolled in 2018.
He hopes to earn a business degree while making connections with fellow students and faculty along the way.
"I want to be able to support a family and UNI provides the skills needed to obtain a good job," Thrall said.
Thank you to all UNI students, faculty, staff and alumni who have served or currently serve our country.