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Veterans Day: She protects and serves

At Winston-Salem State University, there are nearly 100 students who are veterans or active-duty military. Among those are 26 female student veterans.

In celebration of Veterans Day, WSSU News introduces you to two female student veterans.

Joeanna Dearmon

  • Major: Nursing. She earned a bachelor's in justice studies from WSSU in 2010.
  • Hometown: Mount Airy
  • Branch: U.S. Navy (2011-16)
  • Rank: Third-class petty officer
  • Stationed: Fort Smith, Virginia; Pensacola, Florida; and San Antonio, Texas
  • About: She’s plans to return to the Navy once she completes her nursing degree from WSSU. She is currently a Reservist.

Why did you choose WSSU?

Because North Carolina is home for me. I graduated from Winston-Salem State back in 2010, and I just wanted to come back and get my RN at Winston.

How has the military aided in your career path?

When I was active, I fell in love with direct patient care or merchant care. It just seemed like a good fit, and I like it. It’s very challenging, but also very rewarding.

What are some of the challenges of being a woman in the military?

There's a stigma that women can’t do it all. With there being a small percentage of women in the military, especially me being an African American woman in the military, even the smallest things like hair regulations can be challenging. It’s always professionalism. You always have to take a no-nonsense approach on the lingo or subculture. If you start on the right foot the men and “higher ups” will respect you for it.

What are some of the benefits of being a woman in the military?

The paid maternity leave. They respect the family, as far as maternity leave, and you are given the chance to be a mom. I’m speaking for me because my daughter, she was a Navy baby. They really facilitated and provided resources to implement that family feel.

Joeanna Dearmon

Christa M. Youtz

  • Major: Graduate student, rehabilitation counseling (second year)
  • Hometown: Lancaster, Pennsylvania
  • Branch: U.S. Army (four years)
  • Rank: E-4 (Specialist)
  • Stationed: Fort Jackson, South Carolina; Fort Lee, Virginia; Fort Benning, Georgia; Seoul (Yongsan), South Korea; Waegwan (Camp Carroll), South Korea; Daegu (Camp Walker), South Korea

Why did you choose WSSU?

Because it’s an HBCU, the location and scholarship options for the major I am pursuing.

How has the military aided in your career path?

It allowed me to grow as a person. I have gained so much as an individual, and the military had polished my character and gave me an unbreakable determination to succeed in all things.

What are some of the challenges of being a woman in the military?

Personally, just being a woman in general is hard. We have to prove ourselves and our capabilities. I must add being a high-speed woman of color, it intimidated a lot of people. I remember the day I graduated from Airborne School at Fort Benning, I was one of three women and one of seven Blacks out of 236 Paratrooper graduates. That was a proud moment. Just having to perform just as hard as your male counterparts was a challenge but manageable. Lastly, we as females have extra issues that we deal with physically, so being in the field for long periods of time was an inconvenience but again, manageable. My body has paid a price for serving in the US Military and years later it still reminds me. I would not change it for the world.

What are some of the benefits of being a woman in the military?

I would just say a huge benefit of being in the military is proving to the world, "I can, and I will." Guess what? "I did."

Christa M. Youtz

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