Dustin Valdez has a message for fellow veterans considering going back to school to earn their degree: you can do it and you can thrive.
Born and raised in northern California, Valdez went to junior college upon high school graduation, but eventually dropped out to join the US Army. After one year of service in Korea, Valdez spent nine years stationed in Fort Drum, New York. During this time span, he had three deployments overseas, spending a total of 37 months in Iraq.
Valdez took on several management roles during this time, including coordinating air and ground support for over 1000 combat patrols in Baghdad as Battalion Battle Captain, a position normally held by officers with at least three years of experience. He worked closely with senior level leadership and also trained, mentored and led teams of soldiers throughout his career.
Valdez left the Army in 2012 to go back to Sierra College where he earned his Associate of Science degree in Social and Behavioral Science. After receiving letters of acceptance to both UC Berkeley and Oregon for the pursuit of his Bachelor’s degree, Valdez chose the University of Oregon. Passionate about working in sports, he was drawn to the opportunities that he saw within the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center.
In his first year at Oregon Valdez served as the Executive Coordinator of YM7 - Youth Movement and has a full plate this year as the Vice President of Career Development on the Warsaw Sports Business Club Executive Board, Communications and Social Media Intern for TrackTown USA, and Special Events Chair for the Oregon Football Ambassador program.
Valdez’s time in the US Army has given him a unique skillset and perspective on his collegiate experience: “I don’t stress about things. I can see what needs to be done and just get it done. I’ve had a lot of planning and operational experience. When I see something, I can already start getting things in motion in my head before we even start talking about it.”
Driven to pursue a career in college football operations, Valdez will continue his education by starting the Oregon MBA program in the Fall of 2017. “A lot of veterans getting out of the Army think they are too old to go back to school, but I don’t think that way. I’m doing what I wanted to do. I have accomplished every goal that I have set for myself since I have gotten out of the Army. I hope other veterans can look at me and say, ‘I can do it too.’”
Connect with Valdez on LinkedIn