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Celebrating MMC’s Veterans

The service people of the United States Armed Forces put their lives on the line every day to protect their fellow citizens and safeguard their freedoms. Right here at Marymount Manhattan College, we have 36 veterans and dependents of veterans. Today we salute our veterans and all members of service, commend their bravery, and celebrate them as an integral part of our community.

Here’s a look at three of our current students who have made remarkable transitions from the military to Marymount Manhattan:

Amanda Franks

When Amanda Franks ’22 couldn’t find work as an aesthetician in her hometown of New Bern, North Carolina, she joined the Navy with some initial reluctance. What she didn’t expect was how much she would grow to appreciate her time in the military; she spent the next five as an active service member, rising in the ranks from junior sailor to petty officer.

Stationed in San Diego, CA, Franks served on the USS Cowpens for 2.5 years before deploying on a seven-month tour to the Western Pacific, including the Philippines, Hong Kong, and Japan. Her next assignment was on the USS Essex where she joined another deployment, this time to the U.S. Navy’s fifth, sixth and seventh fleet areas across the globe. “I was the quartermaster in the navigation department—which basically means I was the ship’s GPS,” Franks says.

In addition to her important navigation duties, Franks was responsible for training, maintenance and repairs, inventory, and coordinating volunteer opportunities. As a senior-ranking female in her department, Franks made it a priority to mentor junior sailors.

After being honorably discharged from the Navy in 2018, Franks was accepted to Marymount Manhattan College. “I compared schools and science programs—and Marymount had the smallest class sizes. I liked the extra focus on students from the professors,” Franks says.

As a veteran and a first-generation college student, graduation will be a significant milestone. “Earning a B.S. in Biology is going to be such a huge accomplishment because I have worked incredibly hard and sacrificed so much to have these opportunities,” says Franks. “To see this through to the end will bring tears of happiness to my eyes.”

Thank you, Amanda Franks, for your service!

Xavier William Keihl

Being a veteran holds special meaning for MMC Marketing major Xavier William Keihl ’22—he says it is one of his greatest accomplishments. While earning his associate degree prior to his MMC enrollment, Keihl decided to join The Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) to transition into the Army. When he wasn’t at drill, or in class, Keihl worked two different jobs just to pay off his student loans. That’s when he decided to pivot. “I knew all the opportunities that the Army had, and decided to become an enlisted soldier,” Keihl says.

During his time in the service, Keihl trained at Fort Jackson in South Carolina, served overseas in South Korea, and finished his military career at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas.

After leaving the Army as a sergeant, Keihl was ready to dive back into the books—and Marymount Manhattan was the perfect place to transition from solider to student. “MMC is a Yellow Ribbon school. They were easy to work with while getting my GI Bill set up and they really walk through being a full-time student again,” he says.

With just one more year until graduation, Keihl wants to learn and network as much as possible; he has big aspirations for an exciting career in marketing and advertising. “I want to help innovate businesses. Being a veteran is just one chapter of my many chapters.”

Thank you, Xavier William Keihl, for your service!

Casey Nepivoda

When Casey Nepivoda ’23 was growing up, he dreamed of working on top-secret missions. His mother and brother had served in the Navy for a short period of time, so he had some insider’s knowledge about the branch and knew that becoming a linguist could provide an express route to working on confidential assignments.

In 2013, at just 17 years old, Nepivoda left for the U.S. Department of Defense’s Language Institute in Monterey, CA. Upon completing a 64-week course, Nepivoda was sent to Hawaii to begin working on intelligence missions as a Mandarin linguist for the Navy. Over the next four years, he ran a team of intelligence news reporters and even received an award for his “exceptionally meritorious service” as a Language Analyst and Directorate of Operations for the National Security Agency/Central Security Service. In 2019, Nepivoda completed his service as a Second Class Petty Officer.

With a passion for film and a desire to live in New York City, Marymount Manhattan was the perfect place to pursue a double major in Digital Media and Video Production and Digital Journalism. “Being a mission leader in the secret news reporting part of government made me realize I loved working behind the scenes creating something for other people to see,” he says.

Thank you, Casey Nepivoda, for your service!

Published: November 11, 2021