It is with great enthusiasm that I write to announce that Karen McNeil has accepted our offer to serve as the program director of the Office of Student Veterans and Commissioning Programs. Karen will officially begin her duties on Wednesday, July 16.
As program director, Karen will be responsible for providing campus expertise, consultation, and coordination related to military veterans as a component of institutional diversity. Her top priority will be on advising, supporting, and advocating for students who have served, are serving, or are interested in serving in the United States military, who are dependents of veterans, or who have or are serving in the militaries of other nations. She will actively partner with Admission, Human Resources, Institutional Diversity, Alumni Relations, and others to develop and implement effective strategies for recruiting veterans as students and employees. She will also work with Patriot Battalion Army ROTC and other available military commissioning opportunities to ensure that information and support about such programs are readily available to our students as they consider the many options before them. She will also contribute to efforts to broaden the intellectual and community life of the campus through facilitation of opportunities to engage across difference in collaboration with faculty, students, alumni, colleagues, and community partners.
Karen comes to Brown with experience as a military student herself: she served eight years in the U.S. Navy and began her graduate studies while still on active duty. While in the service, she was awarded a Joint Service Commendation medal for her work as an Arabic translator and was selected as Command Language Professional of the Year and NSA Military Professional of the Quarter. After her honorable discharge as an E-6 in 2011, she continued her studies, eventually earning a master’s degree in Arabic from Georgetown University. For the last two years she has been part of an international team working on the upcoming Oxford Arabic Dictionary, as well as working on other translation and consulting projects. Several of these projects have connected her with the Brown community: she served as translator and guide for the great Syrian poet Adonis during his visit to campus and was guest speaker for a course on literary translation. As the spouse of a Brown faculty member, she has also had the opportunity to engage with Brown and its students in an unofficial capacity and has been consistently impressed with the caliber of the students at Brown and their dedication and initiative. Prior to her military service, Karen received her B.A. from Wellesley College in history and Spanish and then worked for several years in public relations.
Throughout her interview, Karen demonstrated a deep commitment to getting to know more about Brown and the specific needs of the Office. She looks forward to working with each of you to help her learn even more about Brown and how she can best contribute to our efforts to serve our students.