A Voice for Veterans
Steve Gonzalez ’09
Brooklyn native Steve Gonzalez '09 served in the U.S. Marine Corps for seven years before coming to Queens, where he majored in international studies with a concentration in political science.
Now he serves as a voice for America's service men and women in his position as the assistant director, national economic division of the American Legion.
His research has been cited on the Senate floor and recently he was a guest on the prestigious CSPAN program "Washington Journal." For 45 minutes he talked with the host about issues affecting veterans such as employment and education. Was he nervous?
"Maybe nervous at first," he said. "But that went away as soon as the show began. I had a feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment by being able to highlight and address barriers that are affecting America's service members and veterans. Being that voice was amazing! I also had that great feeling of being able to make a difference and influence policy that will strengthen this country."
Steve first became interested in policy and politics during his military career, where he was deployed to places like Haiti, Japan, Afghanistan and Iraq. He was intrigued by the complexity of the United States' global strategy, as well as those who shaped America's policies through influencing policy makers.
"While serving in the military I had the opportunity to experience firsthand what it takes to execute such global strategies," he said. "Then during my time at Queens I had a different set of experiences that helped me understand international affairs. Our professors instilled in us the tools we need to evaluate our resources, distinguish between what must be done and what we'd like to do, and determine what's beyond one's individual capacities when finding a solution to a problem."
According to Steve's faculty advisor Dr. Alexa Royden, "Steve's passion and extraordinary work ethic really set him apart. His success demonstrates exactly how a liberal arts degree can be the stepping stone to an amazing professional career. We are so proud of him, and grateful for his generosity in acting as a mentor to many of our current students and recent graduates!"