COMMUNICATOR
May 29, 2024
Photo of Rachel Cortezano

Take 5 With CSU Military Outreach Representative Rachel Cortezano

In honor of Military Appreciation Month, CSU is proud to recognize our military outreach representatives. Our military representatives pull from their own military service experience to better understand the needs of our military students and alumni.

Rachel Cortezano has worked with CSU since 2017. In her role, she works directly with military installations to connect them with service members and assist them with their education. A Navy veteran, Rachel mainly works with the Navy on the east coast with the sole purpose of providing the assistance that our service members and their families deserve.

We asked her to share more about herself and what she loves most about her career:

  1. What do you enjoy most about your job? There are many things I love about my job! It is always great to travel all over the country, but if I had to pick the most rewarding aspect of the job, it would be to be able to help in the one-on-one way that we as reps do. Honestly, I do not know many schools that provide that kind of individualized touch. For me, it is what “floats my boat”. My students mean a lot to me from the moment we discuss goals, to the moment they walk, it drives me.
  2. Can you share about your service as a Navy veteran and an active Air Force Reservist? I was active-duty Navy from 2005 to 2010 during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. I was deployed twice during my time on two aircraft carriers, the USS Ronald Reagan, and the USS Nimitz. My rate (job) was Aviation Ordnance. Aviation Ordnanceman (AO’s) work on bombs, missiles, rockets, etc. We also fix the devices that hold them in place (bomb racks, missile launchers). I worked specifically in that part, fixing the racks, launchers, etc. It was awesome! Being stationed in San Diego, I was able to see many countries including Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Dubai and Bahrain. These were some of the best years of my life and where I met my husband! Currently, I serve in the Air Force Reserve. My job (AFSC) is aerial transportation. I move anything from cargo, vehicles, special equipment, to passengers from one military air terminal to another. I deployed last year to Kuwait. It was my first deployment with the USAF, and one of the most rewarding to date. We were a part of some major operations in the Middle East and Ukraine.
  3. Do you have a favorite moment or memory in your time as an outreach representative at CSU? There are so many great memories in this job, honestly. One moment that is and remains one of my favorites was when I attended a New York Advisory Council on military education conference in Buffalo. A few of us took a ride over to Niagara Falls. It was beautiful!
  4. As a CSU alumna, what program did you study and why? Finishing my master’s degree in organizational leadership at CSU was one of my greatest accomplishments. I wanted to study something that I could relate to. I am not a studious person, so in order to put in all the work for the graduate program, I really wanted to love it. I was able to use all my experience from the military and all the different leaders I have had over the years. Leading people is something I am very passionate about. The organizational leadership program is one of my highest recommended degrees.
  5. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? I have a big family, including pets, so spending time at home with them is my favorite. We have a small farm with ducks, chickens, pigs, donkeys and of course cats and dogs. I also enjoy any time on the water whether it is at the beach, lake, river or pool. I like gardening, and most of all sports. I play on a softball league during spring and summer.

To learn more about CSU’s benefits for military students, veterans and their families, visit ColumbiaSouthern.edu/Military.

Disclaimer: These testimonials may not reflect the experience of all CSU students.
Multiple factors, including prior experience, geography, and degree field, affect career outcomes.
CSU does not guarantee a job, promotion, salary increase, eligibility for a position, or other career growth.

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