The Young Alumnus Awards, which began in 2011, recognize graduates under the age of 40 who are making significant contributions to society or within their respective professions, and whose accomplishments and careers reflect favorably upon the college district or one of the three colleges.
Class of 2014
Hospital Corpsman, Petty Officer 1st Class
Navy veteran and Moreno Valley College alumna Tamara Thacker looks back on her time at the “Beacon on the Hill” with a mix of pride and thankfulness. She says the College proved a great transitional spot on her journey from corpsman to college graduate.
Born into a family with a long, rich tradition of military service, Tamara first worked a landlocked job in retail, before deciding to repoint her life and serve her country. She has never doubted the choices she made—then or in enrolling in college as soon as she was discharged.
As a corpsman, she experienced a lot of firsts. First time traveling outside the country. First time on a ship. First time being in charge of subordinates. First time a woman qualified into a previously all-male military billet. As a college student, she experienced many more. Stepping onto to a college campus for the first time. Feeling insecure for the first time in a long time. Living as a civilian for the first time in years.
With the help of the Moreno Valley College and Veterans Services staff, Tamara succeeded in making the transition. Along the way, she helped start the College’s first veterans club and expanded services to veterans, and again became a leader of men and women. Her academic and student service achievements led her to UC Santa Barbara, where she continued her new life as a student veteran.
At UCSB, she again took on additional leadership roles, putting in many hours of service to other student veterans, and along the way, learned more about herself, her capabilities, and her goals. This spring Tamara will graduate with a bachelor’s degree before setting course toward a graduate degree and a future career as a veterans coordinator at a community college or university.