"Brockport doesn't just provide you opportunities; they help you create opportunities for yourself"
Brandon Nunnery is a Finance major and Iraq War veteran. After serving his country, he went back to school with the new GI Bill. Now a world traveler with a minor in International Studies, Brandon was among the first College at Brockport students to study in Antarctica.
Even while serving in the Marines, Brandon had his eye on the future. “I really enjoyed my time in the Marine Corps,” he says. “I got the most out of it that I possibly could, but I figured pursuing a career with the Marines wasn’t really my best choice, even though it was one of my better options. But given my infantry background and my desire to not be a law enforcement officer or a security guard, I knew that going back to school would be mandatory to advance my career.”
According to Brandon, many service members pursue an education after the military. “A lot of other veterans on campus and around the country are doing the same thing,” he says. “They’re taking advantage of the GI Bill to go back and get some quality training to help them be more productive citizens in the long run. The GI Bill is probably one of the best opportunities for anyone to fund their education. It’s allowed me to pursue an extraordinary education through Brockport, utilizing all the opportunities available to me.”
While studying hard and realizing success as a Finance major, Brandon has also realized some lifelong dreams at Brockport. “When I joined the service they claimed you could travel the world,” he says. “That was something as a person that grew up in the same house, with the same friends and in the same high school and the same street for 17 years that was a pretty neat opportunity. The only places I got travel in the military were Kuwait and Iraq.”
As part of an extraordinary study abroad trip through Brockport’s Office of International Education, Brandon and a handful of intrepid travelers visited the wilds of the Antarctic landscape. “Honestly, I had always dreamed of going to Antarctica, ever since I was a kid,” he says. “I never figured that being able to go so early in my life, and having Uncle Sam pay for it, would be an option.”
Beyond his travels abroad, Brandon looks to make the most of his college experience, something he attributes to his non-traditional status. “One of the reasons I went to school now instead of earlier is I didn’t feel I was ready for school,” he says. “I didn’t think I had the commitment and the dedication and discipline to stick with it. But now those are some of the things instilled in me through my military service.”
“I think a lot of students think college should just be one of those things where ‘I pay my money, I come to class, I get a C and get my piece of paper when I graduate.’ But it turns out to be a lot more than that in the long run. If you don’t take advantage of it now, you’re really only short-changing yourself.”
And in his typical fashion, Brandon finds opportunities inside and outside the classroom. “I like the sense of community at Brockport. It is a very welcoming school and the student population is very open and welcoming,” he says. “It also offers a scholarly form of networking. It’s true what they say about one of the greatest reasons you should go to school is not just the education, but also the networking opportunities.” Brandon knows a thing or two about networking at Brockport. After all, it’s here where met his future wife.
Brandon recognizes Brockport’s distinguished faculty and excellent co-curricular programs. But he also knows your experience is often what you make it “Opportunities won’t come knocking at your door,” he says. “You need to go and find them. I found them here at Brockport.”