Georgia Tech’s motto of Progress and Service is emulated by its student body, and several students graduating this December have shown a passion for service while studying at Tech.
Joshua Jarrell is among the students walking this week who have given back to their communities in significant ways. He exemplifies service to country.
Jarrell enrolled as a Ph.D. candidate in Fall 2012. He began his service journey during his senior year of high school when he enlisted in the Army Reserves as a construction engineer. After completing undergraduate work at Auburn University, he transferred to the Alabama National Guard to become a medic.
Jarrell, who is earning a Ph.D. in applied physiology, has balanced military service with his studies. In 2015, he had to withdraw from Tech when his Guard unit was mobilized and deployed in northern Iraq.
“During my deployment, I helped train soldiers in combat medicine to support them in their fight against ISIS,” he said.
“Too often veterans just accept the first decent position they’re offered and then struggle to move up in the company or to another field.”
While at Tech, Jarrell joined the Georgia Tech chapter of Student Veterans of America. He enjoyed spending time with the group of veterans and sponsor, David Ross.
“It was nice to sit back and relax in the company of other veterans amid the stresses of graduate work,” he said. Overall, Jarrell had found the community at Tech to be supportive of his service. “When I came back from my deployment, my lab mates and advisor extended themselves in many ways to get me caught up in our field and help get my research going again.”
In the future, Jarrell hopes to develop a program to encourage veterans to pursue higher education before their next career transition.
“Too often veterans just accept the first decent position they’re offered and then struggle to move up in the company or to another field," he explained. "Getting that next degree will set up a veteran for extended success in the civilian world.”
Editor's Note: This article was excerpted from a story published by Georgia Tech News Center on Dec. 14, 2017.