From soldier to student
In her time in the Electrical and Computer Engineering, Alyssia Hardy has juggled her role as student, member of NC State University’s cheerleading team, wife and active member of the Idaho Air National Guard.
May 29, 2018 By College of Engineering Magazine (Spring 2018)
Veterans and active duty members of the armed services arrive as students at NC State with life experiences often unlike many of their peers.
Some have deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, others have hands-on experience in roles such as aircraft mechanics, and they bring a unique perspective to campus. They’re a little older than the average undergraduate, and they bring a sense of order, respect for others and duty from their military life.
In her time as a student in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Alyssia Hardy has juggled her role as student, member of NC State University’s cheerleading team, wife and active member of the Idaho Air National Guard.
“Like the military, you want to be a part of something bigger than yourself… Joining a sport at a big university gives you that opportunity.”
Yes, she’s an active member of the Idaho Air National Guard living in North Carolina. With a husband in active duty in the Army and stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Hardy received special permission to reside in North Carolina and travels to Idaho twice each year for training.
“We did long-distance for nine months because I was working full time (in Idaho),” Hardy said. “You can only do distance for so long.”
She joined the Air National Guard out of high school. Unsure what she wanted to study in college, it offered her the opportunity to pursue something meaningful while she figured out her future.
Immediately following her initial training with the National Guard, her unit was deployed, and she was placed in a full-time technician position. She’d grown up fixing cars in her dad’s garage, and her time in the Guard piqued her interest in electrical engineering.
“It gave me that hands-on experience with how things work,” she said. “Knowing I enjoyed that, I wanted to further my education in that field.”
For all the hard work and dedication she’s put into her engineering degree, she’s equally dedicated to the cheerleading team. She practices three hours a day, three days per week, and attends numerous athletic events, from basketball to gymnastics to football.
“It is a huge time commitment, but it’s always been a passion for me and a sport that I loved,” Hardy said.
It’s also given her a sense of community similar to that of the National Guard.
“Like the military, you want to be a part of something bigger than yourself,” she said. “Joining a sport at a big university gives you that opportunity.”
Original article from College of Engineering Magazine (Spring 2018)