If Alexandria Sawin’s 4-year-old daughter Isabelle has dreams of becoming a musician-astronaut, she’ll support and encourage her.
It’s the top reason she decided to become the first woman president of the UNLV Rebel Vets Organization in 2018.
“I wanted to show her that she can do anything,” Sawin said. “I love being able to show women that we can do anything.”
Sawin’s title was given a boost on Jan. 5 when the Student Veterans of America (SVA) named her the Student Veteran of the Year for 2018, a national recognition. She was chosen among a list of 10 finalists.
“My brain did not process that they had called my name,” Sawin said. “I was in awe for two seconds. You never think you’re going to get an award when you’re up against all of these amazing students.”
But Sawin’s contributions to UNLV and veterans throughout 2018 made her the perfect choice for the award.
“Alexandria Sawin is a fitting example of the quality of the student veterans who attend UNLV,” said Ross Bryant, director of the Military and Veteran Services Center at UNLV. “This award recognizes her strong work ethic, her record of academic excellence, her dedication to student veterans, and her ability to lead her Rebel Vet team. We’re proud that she was chosen for this honor.”
Sawin, who began serving as president of Rebel Vets in January 2018, said organizing a ruck march across Nevada for the 6,950 service members killed in action since 9/11 was her most significant contribution. She also engaged in policy discussions and advocated for several veteran-focused bills, including the Hire Student Veterans Act.
She said the honor she received from SVA is one to be shared with her fellow Rebel Vets. SVA, which has more than 1,500 chapters at colleges across the U.S. and four countries overseas, also recognized the Rebel Vets as a finalist for Chapter of the Year.
“I like that the award has allowed the Rebels Vets to get out there and for everyone to see all of the amazing things that we do,” Sawin said. “It really shows all of the hard work that my organization puts in. It was definitely a group effort.”
Prior to attending UNLV, Sawin served on active duty in the U.S. Air Force for seven years. In 2016, she transitioned into the Air Force Reserve at Nellis Air Force Base.
About UNLV Military and Veteran Services Center
UNLV has more than 1,850 active-duty, reserve or veteran military students on campus. Most have received tuition benefits through the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill. UNLV is recognized by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs as a VetSuccess campus and designated a military friendly school by G.I. Jobs Magazine. UNLV has also re-engaged with Nellis Air Force Base and offers on-base advising and courses for active-duty military. UNLV also recently launched a Rebel Veterans Alumni Club, which offers current and former student veterans an opportunity to network with one another and learn about opportunities available to veterans in Southern Nevada.
Learn more at unlv.edu/veterans.