November + December 2023 Peer Advisor of the Month: Isabella Olivares, University of the Incarnate Word

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From Phillip Rangel, Team Leader, University of the Incarnate Word: “Isabella, a student at the University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) is the inaugural military-child-focused Peer Advisor for this pioneering program. She excels in the PAVE’s mission is to provide guidance and support to the family members of veterans who are receiving VA Education benefits, despite not being in the military themselves. Isabella herself is the daughter of a U.S. Marine Corps Veteran and has embraced the opportunity to lead and assist fellow students at UIW.

In her role as Peer Advisor, Isabella serves as a valuable resource for 68 sons and daughters of military veterans. Simultaneously, she manages a demanding academic load, is currently enrolled in 18 credit hours, and maintains an exceptional academic record. Isabella’s dedication extends beyond traditional student support, as she has effectively reached out to a previously overlooked demographic. These students, although not veterans themselves, played an essential role in supporting their parents throughout their military service. Isabella’s connection with her peers can forge a bond that will undoubtedly foster goodwill and support within the university. Her selfless commitment to assisting fellow college students, even those she hasn’t met personally, is a rare and remarkable character trait that sets her apart from her peers. Her dedication is truly deserving of this recognition.”

From Isabella Olivares: “My favorite part of being a Peer Advisor is I get to be myself and be silly sometimes in my outreach emails and see responses from advisees being silly as well. This lets me know that even if they aren’t always asking for help, we have a solid connection, and they feel safe reaching out. My work as a Peer Advisor has improved the college experience of student veterans and fellow family members of veterans by giving them a safety net and a friend. They can live their student life freely but know that they can reach out without shame or guilt.”