Donna De La Torre
Class of 2019
Currently Studying :
"Pursuing my degree has been the one accomplishment I'm most proud of, as it has taken me a long time to work towards this goal."
– Donna De La Torre, Class of 2019
Dyson student veteran focuses on her Pace Path while she serves our nation.
Why did you choose to attend Pace and what has your academic experience been like?
I first enrolled in the non-credited, Paralegal Studies certificate program at Pace University. I enjoyed the course curriculum, professors, and resources provided, and as a result, decided to pursue my bachelor's degree in Liberal Arts with a concentration in Criminal Justice and Psychology. Professor Darrin Porcher has been the best! I took his Crime and Public Policy course on the New York City campus, and it was great. Also, Professor Nicola Foster is one of my advisors and mentors. She is the head of the ELA (Experiential Learning Assessment) curriculum, and has been an incredible support. Pursuing my degree has been the one accomplishment I'm most proud of, as it has taken me a long time to work towards this goal.
You are a student veteran. Can you tell me about your military experience and what motivated you to serve?
I have been in the service for two years and two months, and my unit is the 204th Headquarters Engineer Battalion in Binghamton, New York. One of the most rewarding experiences in the military is meeting leadership within the New York Army National Guard that dedicates their time to serving our nation. I can attest that leaders, especially in the US Army Chaplain Corps, work around the clock to ensure the safety of service members and residents in New York State.
I joined the military because I believe in the value of service; it brings me great joy. One of my favorite poets is Rabindranath Tagore. He said, “I slept and dreamt that life was a joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.” My military occupation specialty is a Religious Affairs Specialist, and in this role, I assist our Military Chaplains in safeguarding the religious rights of service members.
How has becoming a vet transformed you and what has your experience as a student vet at Pace been like?
My military experience makes me value the pursuit of higher education. The army values that I learned during training help me focus on the task at hand. One of my greatest experiences as a student veteran at Pace University is meeting other student veterans. The Pleasantville Student Veterans Association’s mission statement is inclusion, and the leadership has excellent plans for student veterans to integrate with nonveteran students. Further, the new Student Veteran’s Center (SVA) that will be built and housed in Kessel will be an invaluable resource. I'm excited about the Center’s future activities, including volunteer projects and team-building exercises. To future student representatives of the SVA in Pleasantville and New York City - the sky is the limit for planning activities. An example of essential resources include educational material on mental health counseling services provided at Pace.
Have you had any internships or been involved in any student activities on campus?
I had an internship with Hunger Free America in the fall of 2016, which I heard about through Pace via the Handshake platform. My role at Hunger Free America was to assist eligible low-income individuals and families in applying for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). I met the CEO of Hunger Free America Joel Burg; he is a person who embodies the value of service. Additionally, I am the Secretary for the Student Veterans Association at the Pace Pleasantville campus. An incredible student group runs the SVA there, and it has been an honor to meet the leadership of this organization.
What would you like to do upon graduation/what are your career goals?
I’d like to go to law school and I'm looking at international law as a specialty. I want to utilize this degree to pursue a career in the federal government, corporate counsel, international organizations, or nonprofit groups.
What advice, if any, would you like to give to students?
Keep your eyes on the prize! Sometimes, oftentimes, you have to roll up your sleeves and do the work.