Raymone (RJ) is an Army veteran having spent six years in the Army as a Senior Signal Systems Chief. He is currently a Senior, Information Systems major. While he began his educational journey at Cleveland State University, he decided to transfer to UNC Charlotte to join one of the most prestigious business programs in the nation. Choosing Charlotte allowed him to return a second home.
RJ was raised by a single mother however, he is the epitome of the expression “it takes an entire village to raise a child”. The “village” that helped his parents raise him started in his community where the neighbors would guide him and encourage him to be great. Furthermore, they had taught him to reach back and be a helping hand. A major key in RJ’s “village” was his grandfather. His grandfather would share inspirational stories of serving others. Those stories were connected to his grandfather’s service as an Army soldier. RJ connected the dots and concluded that he could be great and reach back and be a helping hand by following his grandfather’s footsteps in the Army.
RJ enlisted in the Army in 2009 as a Quartermaster and Chemical Equipment Repairer. The sense of “village” followed RJ throughout his military career. He had seniors and peers who would reach back to help him find his passion by allowing him to shadow them in many on-the-job trainings. RJ then found his passion in technology and reclassified as a 25U, Signal Support Systems Specialist. Due to injuries sustained in combat, he was medically discharged in 2015 after serving his country for six years.
In 2017, RJ transferred from Cleveland State University to UNC Charlotte. Immediately, he was contacted by OASES and the Veteran Student Office (VSO). The VSO is where RJ found his new “village” to support him throughout his academic career. He was no ordinary student as he is a single father of two girls, a transfer student, and an adult student. The support and connections made at the VSO have been an important role in his academic success.
During RJ’s Sophomore year, he was recommended by the VSO to serve as a Peer Mentor. He saw an opportunity to reach back and help others, so he accepted the role with the University Center for Academic Excellence (UCAE). Although, he was attending as a single parent he found a way to balance life and give back. During his time at UNC Charlotte, Raymone has also used his leadership skills while he served as a Financial Accounting Peer Assistant Leader, served on the Chancellor search committee and as he currently he serves as the Treasurer of the Student Veterans Association (SVA).
Raymone had this to say about his time at UNC Charlotte,
“My words of wisdom for adult students considering to return to college are: Use your resources and be honest with yourself. When you feel you are alone or have thoughts of doubt, and you will, reach out to your advisors, your instructors, or your peers. My first year at UNC Charlotte was full of doubt and fear. I was afraid that maybe I had made a mistake going back to school, and maybe I could enter my career field by getting an IT certification instead. Being honest with myself allowed me to see the bigger picture. I thought, ‘If I get a certification, I'll get hired yet a degree would still be required for any managerial positions’. Reaching out to my academic advisor equipped me with a toolbox of resources I take pride in. It pulls me through the tough times. It's going to take hard work and dedication but the obstacles separating you from success are not meant to be endeavored alone.”
RJ is currently holding a 3.7 overall GPA and is set to graduate in December of 2021. He appeared on the Deans’ list multiple semesters. He has secured an internship with Allstate and accepted a position as a Cyber Security Analyst with Allstate. He strongly believes life is meant to be lived as a village. He encourages those he comes in contact with to be great however, true greatness is not achieved until you have reached back to help others.