Army veteran Aggie Akers, Editor-in-Chief of University of La Verne Law Review, urged women veterans to use their leadership skills at a recent community conference at California State University, Fullerton.

“We as strong military women veterans need to be the leaders of tomorrow because society is lacking in leadership,” said Akers, a featured speaker at the “Women Veterans in Higher Education: Valor, Integrity & Service” conference. The event was held in recognition and celebration of Women in the Military History Week.

“Don’t be afraid to step up and be leaders in the classroom or on campus,” said Akers, who achieved the rank of staff sergeant and was deployed to Iraq twice.

Akers, a third year law student who graduates in May, worked as an Arabic linguist, translating top-secret communications. The U.S. Army sent Akers, who didn’t speak Arabic, to the Defense Language Institute in Monterey for 63 weeks to study the language after test scores showed she had an aptitude for learning languages.

Spurred by Sept. 11, she enlisted with the army for six years.

“Like many people, that event shook me to the core,” said Akers, adding that she felt like her liberty was under attack.

As an immigrant from Poland, Akers said she always has appreciated the opportunity she and her family had to build a new life in the United States.

“I felt that it was a gift and a privilege to live in this great country,” she said.

Akers offered advice to women transitioning from the military to civilian life.

She urged women veterans to “find a battle buddy,” a friend who would support and be there for them no matter what.

“Veterans need to be reminded that they need people,” she said. “You need people to help you through your life.”

She also told the veterans to incorporate service into their daily lives, make and execute a battle plan and be a leader. Finally, she suggested that veterans “keep training,” their minds.

“Your education is something that will always be yours,” Akers said, repeating something her mother often told her.

As she prepares to take the California Bar Exam in July, Akers reflected on her accomplishments. She’s ranked at the top of her class and holds the prestigious editor position at the Law Review.

“None of those achievements could have been possible if I had not served in the military,” she said.

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