Alumnus betters herself through military career, seeks education

Alumni Spotlight

Alumnus betters herself through military career, seeks education

Shanice Davis, Features Editor


As a daughter of migrant workers, Claudia Oreegal was well aware of her family’s financial situation, and saw the military as an outlet to escape poverty and better herself.

Oreegal was stationed at Camp Pendleton while she served in the Marine Corps from 1999 to 2003, a time in which the attacks of 9/11 and the Invasion of Iraq occurred.

Oreegal had to insure that all military personnel record books were up to date in case they lost service members. She said that the thought of not seeing a fellow Marine again was “one of the most surreal moments.”

She experienced one of these surreal moments while on duty one day when she received a phone call about a member passing. “It happened so fast and reality sets in,” said Oreegal.

She benefited from her career in the military because she was exposed to a wide variety of people, situations and skills, which she applied to her job search as a civilian.

After gaining experience through the military, Oreegal decided to pursue the next chapter in her life.

“I wanted to pursue my education full time, and at the time I was married and we both got out around the same time because we wanted to start our family,” said Oreegal.

Since the end of her active days, Oreegal has succeeded in reaching both of her goals. She has one child and recently graduated in the spring of 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in Business with an emphasis in Management Information Systems and a minor in Ethnic Studies.

During her time on campus, she took advantage of the college life and got involved in student affairs. As a member of the Student Veterans Organization, Oreegal served as Treasurer and later President. Since graduation, she has been actively involved in the military community as her job deals closely with the population.

“I work with Extended Learning and the Veterans Center here on campus. I [work] full-time, but half of my time is with the Veterans Center and the other half is with Extended Learning,” said Oreegal.

“Extended Learning opened and developed the Military and Veterans Services Office…I’m the coordinator for them and we are just trying to implement some of the parts of the strategic plan for veterans,” said Oreegal.

She doesn’t want to stop there as she is currently thinking about furthering her education by pursuing a master’s in Social Work or Counseling.

As for what the future holds, Oreegal said that she wants to continue to extend a helping hand at CSUSM.

“I definitely see myself completing my master’s degree and hopefully getting promoted within Veteran Services. I’d really like to stay within higher education and hopefully there will be something available for me here at Cal State. I really enjoy working here,” said Oreegal.

With all of the drive and dedication she possess, Oreegal gives thanks to the military for giving her structure.

“The military has strengthened my strengths, and it has given me a broader perspective on a lot of things, making me appreciate a lot.”

The initiative that comes with her drive to help people on campus and explore all of her potential is rooted in a saying that Oreegal lives by: “To get something you never had, you have to do something you never did.”