Major: Elementary Education
Hometown: Hudson, N.H.
It may have taken her five years of active duty serving as military police in the Army, but Rivier elementary education major Patience McStravick knows that she wants to be a teacher. “I learned that this is how to fix things,” she explains. “It starts with the children.”
McStravick spent a year of her service patrolling the streets, schools, and orphanages of Faluja, Iraq, and will never forget the faces of the children she met there. “The kids were initially scared of us,” she says. “And for a while they thought I was a male soldier with long hair.”
After building trust with the children of Iraq and witnessing the stressful conditions they lived in, McStravick saw that despite mimicking the anti-American beliefs the adults around them held, these children truly had nothing to do with the war. Instead, she saw them as the unfortunate victims. “There is no doubt that my military experience will shape the way I will be as a teacher,” McStravick says.
After completing her active duty, McStravick moved to Litchfield, New Hampshire with her husband, also a U.S. Army veteran, and began researching the next stage of her life. Taking advantage of the U.S. government’s vocational-rehabilitation program, she explored going to college to become a teacher. After a dissatisfying experience at another institution, McStravick was recommended to Rivier by her voc-rehab case worker and Rivier alum, George Kimball ’95G. With Kimball’s guidance, McStravick found her enrollment at Rivier an immediate fit. “Rivier is a great school and everyone is concerned with the bigger picture. I can really see how my degree from Rivier can impact the world.”
McStravick’s transition to college life has been virtually seamless at Rivier. Through working with the Veterans Association and the Rivier Business Office, McStravick explains that “everything just works here.” She is delighted that staff know who she is when she arrives and know exactly what she needs for her veteran’s assistance program. She cites the support of every staff person and faculty member she has met at Rivier in allowing her transition to be completely successful.