Campus Life

Student Veterans Reflect On Military Experiences, Acceptance Into Texas A&M

From military service to one of the nation's most military-friendly schools, three veterans share their journeys to Aggieland.
By Lesley Henton; Videos by Char Callaway, Texas A&M University Division of Marketing & Communications November 11, 2020

With more than 1,200 student veterans and over 2,800 family members of veterans currently enrolled, Texas A&M University is routinely ranked as one of the nation’s best universities for veterans. On Veterans Day, three student veterans share their journeys through military service to Aggieland.

Lance Decker ’20, ’23

A Waco, Texas native and U.S. Air Force veteran, Decker’s passions lie in engineering and teaching. He is pursuing a Ph.D. in interdisciplinary engineering and said he hopes to inspire future engineering students as a professor. Decker served in the Air Force for more than 15 years and said he heard about Texas A&M from his Aggie dad, who was a member of the Corps of Cadets in the ’50s. Decker said entering the military was his path to getting a college education and that being accepted into Texas A&M was “a dream come true.”

Luis Martinez, Jr. ’18, ’23

A Ph.D. student in the Department of Geography, Martinez joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 2013 where he served in geospatial intelligence. He said he uses the knowledge gained in the military to conduct research mapping subterranean environments to improve situational awareness in military operations, specifically caves, tunnels and other types of underground networks. Martinez is a first-generation college student, and upon graduation plans to educate and mentor geospatial intelligence students and work to improve geospatial capabilities for the U.S. military and intelligence communities.

Shawna Uhl ’20

Uhl is working toward a bachelor’s in university studies architecture after serving in the U.S. Navy for more than three years as an in-flight technician. Her military career was sidelined due to a car accident, so she decided to attend Texas A&M as a first-generation Aggie. She said an important factor in choosing to become an Aggie is that the university community shares so many of the same values as the military such as honor and integrity. Uhl hopes to use her degree to secure a job conducting research on historic buildings.

Media contact: Lesley Henton,

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