Q&A: Celebrating our Veterans

By: Jenny O'Grady
Nov 10, 2021

In honor of National Veterans Week, we’re chatting with UMBC senior media and communications major Alexandra Hulett, a veteran of the United States Army. Behind the scenes these days, you might find Hulett filming or editing promotional videos of student events and campus engagements for her video production internship with the Office of Institutional Advancement, building off skills she first put to work in the Army.

Can you tell us a little bit about your work before you came to UMBC?

When I joined the Army I worked as a combat photographer/videographer. The last position I held before I transitioned out was an instructor for basic still photography at the Defense Information School on Fort George G. Meade, Maryland. I trained new Soldiers and Marines on the technical skills they needed for their careers.

Why did you decide to take the path of service?

There was always a nagging desire in me to join the military. It was after I found out that the Army has an occupation that combined my love for photography and videography that I decided to join and embark on a 9-year ride to places like Afghanistan and Germany.

How do you bring those experiences into your role as a student today?

The experiences I had in the military have been so invaluable to me as a student now. I gained the self-confidence and work ethic that I needed to help me persevere through the many challenges that life (and school) has thrown at me. Also, I learned that teamwork is critical because no one gets very far without the support of others. 

A selfie of Hulett in Afghanistan, 2012.

What do you most enjoy about being a student? What is most challenging?

I love being able to learn new things and engage with my professors. I enjoy the many places UMBC has to offer for places to study and relax between my classes. The most challenging thing about college to me is making friends as I am much older than a typical student with different life experiences and lifestyles that make it hard to relate to others.

What do you hope to do after you graduate?

I plan to stay in Baltimore with my husband and dog and continue to pursue video editing as my career.

What would you like other students to know about what it’s like to be a veteran?

It can be difficult for veterans to interact and make connections with other non-veteran students. Personally, I deal with this internal balancing act of blending in while still trying to put myself out there and meet others. I would challenge other students to befriend the veterans in your classes. We’re a fiercely loyal bunch and experts at knowing how to have a good time.

Learn more about UMBC Veteran Services here.

Header Image: Retired U.S. Army Col. Martin Downie, former Commandant at the Defense Information School, Fort George G. Meade, Md. and Hulett. All photos courtesy of Hulett.

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