Podcast Transcript – Venson Herron
Today’s podcast features an interview with UNT alumnus Venson Herron, we asked him questions related to his program at UNT and a little bit about his postgraduation career path. We hope you’ll stay tuned.
My full name is Venson Herron, my major at UNT was Emergency Administration and Planning. I graduated May 2018, so I’m a graduate right now. No, I’m an alumni right now is what I will say. So I’m not a graduate student yet. Tell you about my military service. Well, I joined the active duty army on March 12th 1993. I got stationed at Fort Stewart, Georgia. My job at the time was communications wasn’t too excited about being communications.
I wanted to be infantry because I wanted to get into the action. So my next duty station, I went to Germany and when I was in Germany, I changed jobs and became an infantryman. And from there I was an infantryman. The rest of my career went to multiple duty stations from Germany to Fort Campbell, Kentucky, to out here in Fort Worth to do recruiting duty. From there, I went to Fort Benning, Georgia, and then from there I went on to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, to be a drill instructor.
And from Fort Sill, Oklahoma, I went to Fort Bliss, Texas, and Fort Bliss, Texas. I went to Fort Stewart, Georgia. And from Fort Stewart, Georgia, I went to Memphis to teach ROTC at the University of Memphis. And then I went from there to Fort Hood, Texas. And then that’s where I retired and decided to. Do finish my schooling here at the University of North Texas and have a few deployments under my belt, one deployment to Bosnia and two to Iraq and one Afghanistan.
So that’s been my military career.
What made you pursue a degree from UNT after your military service?
Honestly, because UNT was my first choice when I came out of high school, I came here initially out of high school, and I started here before I decided one woke up one morning and decided I was going to go ahead and go active duty army. And I joined the Army. So I wanted to finish what I started. That’s what made me come back here. And I love the school. I love being here at this university and the degree I chose to pursue the degree I did because I thought it was as close to what I was doing in the military as possible.
You still have a chain of command. You have incident command. So when incidents happen, there’s a command structure. And it was very similar to what I was doing in the service. So that’s what made me choose him. And plus, UNT had the first emergency management course in the country, a major in the country, and it is the best in the country. As far as emergency management.
What on campus organizations were you involved in during your time at UNT?
The type of campus organizations that I was involved with and how they were beneficial to me were I was involved with the International Association of Emergency Management, the students chapter, because it allowed me to network with other students and see what possibilities were out there, and that by networking, that brought me closer to people who were actually working in the field of emergency management. And that in turn helped me get my internship that I needed to graduate. So that benefited me.
The US was part of the Students Better organization because, you know, being around other veterans and people that think like you and have experienced the same experiences that you have through military service, it just brings a certain camaraderie out and allowed us to work together and understand the struggle that we may or may not have. And it helps us as far as going to school. You have other people to bounce ideas off of how they manage to go to school.
I took advantage a lot of the career center, so I did use that a lot and have benefited be very much because I was able to. Go in and practice interviewing skills with them and they help you write resumes, because to be honest, when you’re in the military, especially when you grow up in it like I did. Your whole mindset is military, and they were able to get me to the point where I could start thinking on the civilian side, because what you do in the military may not necessarily translate over to the civilian world or how people think in the civilian world.
And that helped me in that regard because I was able to interview and understand, no, you can’t say this in an interview. You can’t yell at people and get them to do things because it doesn’t operate that way out here. You have to be able to navigate that way of talking to people and getting them to do something without the forceful way that sometimes you can get them to do things in the military through a forceful way. So that helped.
What are some tips you may have for current student veterans to feel engaged on campus?
I would tell them absolutely get involved with different student organizations. It’ll bring you more.
Into the campus, it’ll get you closer to other students, and I think if you take advantage of those different organizations, that it will help you along the way, especially transitioning from military service back into the civilian world. Then you get around other people and understand that, hey, there’s a different way of behaving and there’s a different way that civilians act versus the way that military acts. I think that helps a lot in the career center will help you interview.
They will help you locate jobs that may be helpful for you and give you to understanding how you should probably dress, because we already we never really have to buy clothes in the military because you know what you’re going to wear every single day. You’re going to put on a uniform. You don’t even have to think about it. So a lot of students that especially veterans that have only did three or four years in service, they may not have a lot of clothing options in the school helps them.
The career center helps them with, hey, you might want to dress this way, wear a tie, wear this colored clothing, do this with your hair, do this with your facial hair, do these types of things that are going to help you land that job. So I would definitely tell them to take advantage of that. And get involved with going to sporting events. I mean, it’s you don’t have to go to every sporting event, but.
Enjoy the college experience, and I think that will help them out a lot more.
What advice do you have for current students as they decide their next steps after graduation?
I would do the my assessment because that helps you with deciding what you may be good at and what you love to do. Because I always had a saying, I think my dad told me this when I was growing up. Find something that you love to do and figure out how to make money at it. So what he would tell a lot of times and so I would tell you that assessment will help you figure out what you love to do. And if you take that assessment now you understand what you love to do, then you talk to that counselor.
They can guide you in the major towards the major that fits what you love to do, because if you get involved in a major that you absolutely hate, you probably won’t do well in it because you don’t like doing it. There’s nothing worse than doing something that you hate. And so I would tell them to absolutely take advantage of that assessment. So the career center, I can’t stress that enough is go to the career center and use those assets that they have there for you and they are there for you.
And they will work with you and tell you where you’re we get and where you’re strong and how to prove those weaknesses and how to continue and add to your strengths.
How has the career center helped you?
Some of the resources that I use that the UNT Career Center, were the interview process I went over, I used my counselor and gave me an interview, gave me interview tips and actually wrote up a form on how I did what I need to improve on and where I can continue to get better.
She also helped me with writing resumes that were more. Geared towards the civilian world and how to write those resumes for the specific position that I was seeking, and it did help me because I had to turn in a resume to get my internship at FEMA. And I don’t know if you know a lot about FEMA there and FEMA is tough to get into. And I was able to get that internship thanks to the fact that she helped me write that resume and it helped a lot.
And based on that, I use that same process to turn in my resume to get hired as an ROTC instructor. And lo and behold, it worked out perfectly for me. And because of her interview tips that she gave me that helped me during the interview process, because I’m being interviewed by a principal that doesn’t know much about ROTC or the military. And but I have to impress that individual to get the job because they’re the ones that say, yes, we will hire you.
And that helped me tremendously with the interview process. I also worked on they talked about wardrobe, which I didn’t have an issue with that because I already had those things. But the fact that she brought up wardrobe and how to dress, I thought that was very professional over to say, hey, make sure you’re dressing the part of what you’re looking for. And then she told me you’re what you’re wearing is perfect, but. Just want to keep you understanding that that’s part of the interview process, the way you appear to people is sometimes that’s sometimes how they judge you and whether you get the part or get the job or not.
So I would definitely tell people that those were the tips that they gave me and it helped.
Do you have any extra advice to share? The last things that I would love to say about veterans or students who are looking at UNT as a possibility is come out and take a tour of the campus is a great university. They have a lot of things here for veterans. They bend over backwards for veterans. A lot of schools you’ll go to, veterans are they’re treated like second and third class citizens. The universities don’t really care that they’re there. And some of them are probably thinking they almost wish you weren’t there.
There are some schools like that. I’ve sort I’ve experienced that out there. And UNT is definitely not one of them. UNT welcomes the veterans. They do a lot to help you. They even go tell you how you get your GI Bill started so you can pay your tuition and they tell you how much you have left, how much you can use, where you can use it. So this veterans organization here at the school is top notch. So I would definitely tell students to come here and enjoy the experience and get involved with the university.
It’s a great place. It’s a great place to visit. It’s a college town. It is, but it’s a great place to visit. And I would tell them, enjoy.