Service to others has been Greenspun College of Urban Affairs Alumnus of the Year Bruno Moya’s mission his entire adult life. It started with a seven-year stint in the U.S. Marine Corps (including serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003) and has since continued with both his academic and career pursuits.
Case in point: After completing his psychology degree at UNLV in 2015, Moya simultaneously worked toward his 2017 master’s in social work while serving as president of what is now known as the Rebel Veterans Organization, a chapter of the national advocacy group Student Veterans of America.
In this role as president, Moya helped author a legislative policy brief aimed at establishing statewide standards for awarding college credit for military education, training, and occupational experience. The policy brief ultimately turned into Senate Bill 457, which was introduced during the 2017 legislative session and passed with unanimous approval.
A year later, after completing his master’s degree, Moya was one of eight mentors chosen to attend the Student Veterans of America Leadership Institute, a three-day leadership forum at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that brought together 101 of the group’s top chapter leaders.
Today, Moya continues to serve the Las Vegas community as vice president of the Rebel Veterans Alumni Club and as a board member of the United Veterans Legislative Council. He also volunteers his time with multiple nonprofits within the community.
During the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve seen numerous examples of teamwork at its finest. In what ways did UNLV teach you the value of teamwork?
As the old saying goes, “Teamwork makes the dream work,” and while some choose to fight it, others go above and beyond to live by it.
While at UNLV, I remember teaming up with fellow students to accomplish very important work, and those experiences have helped me during my time as a social worker. In my field, it’s crucial that individuals come together and exchange resources to achieve the common goal of helping others through difficult chapters in their lives.
The power of listening through different theoretical approaches, asking important questions, and understanding when and where to send someone in need — all of these critical skills are rooted in teamwork, and I honed them during graduate school.
Of course, serving in the military taught me a lot about the value of teamwork, and truth be told, I never thought I would find a team as close-knit as my Marine family. Well, I was wrong, as I discovered incredible leaders at UNLV with whom I still connect, sometimes on a weekly basis. We combine our strengths and wherever possible attempt to fill in gaps in our community.
What advice do you have for today’s UNLV students as they try to navigate our changed world?
In my last undergraduate semester, one of my professors opened class with the following statement: Conflict is the genesis of growth. I continue to remind myself of the truth in that statement, which shifted my perception of how to approach trying times.
Conflict indeed is good; it’s a teacher, it challenges us with change. And it’s a journey best walked with an open mind, a kind heart, and a consistent stride. How we lead ourselves through conflict will take us down a wonderful path filled with opportunities for immense growth.
I often seek inspiring words in history’s most notable people, one of whom is the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, who famously said: “The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way, becomes the way.” Words to live by.