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Press Release

SoldierStrong Announces 2017 SoldierScholar Recipients

Posted on: 09 Nov 17

STAMFORD, Conn., Nov. 09, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- SoldierStrong, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing advanced medical technologies to veterans, today announced its 2017 recipients of its SoldierScholar scholarship program. The scholarship program aims to help supplement the Post-9/11 GI Bill, by filling tuition gaps it may leave for select students. This year, a new SoldierScholar scholarship was launched at Old Dominion University for a female veteran studying STEM.

A video accompanying this announcement is available at

“Supporting our nation’s heroes take their next steps forward in life is an honor and we are proud to support our service members who have served and sacrificed for us,” said Chris Meek, co-founder and chairman of SoldierStrong. “To date, the SoldierScholar program has raised nearly $450,000, which has helped 13 men and women advance their education following their return from the battlefield.”

Endowed scholarships include Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs, the Batten College of Engineering and Technology at Old Dominion University, and the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.

“Though I knew I wanted to join the Navy, I had applied to attend ODU first, but finances were an issue,” said Navy veteran, Stephanie Primeaux. “The Navy not only helped better prepare me for college, both financially and academically, but it helped connect me to a great advisor who recognized my hard work and made me aware of opportunities like the SoldierStrong scholarship. I feel beyond honored to have been selected for this scholarship. It has given me the confidence and means to continue my education.” 

This year’s recipients are:

  • Stephanie Primeaux, Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering, Old Dominion University

Navy Veteran Stephanie Primeaux, is a qualified nuclear electrician with 6 years of experience in the nuclear industry. Skilled in nuclear operations, maintenance, and management, she served as a Nuclear Electrician’s Mate on the U.S.S. Harry S. Truman, and more recently as a Facilities Manager at the Fleet Readiness Center Mid-Atlantic. While pursuing her degree, Stephanie is interning at NASA’s Langley Research Center as a Cost Analysis Intern in the Proposal Development Office.

Watch a video about Stephanie’s story here.

  • Mitchell “Mitch” Forbes, Executive Master of Public Administration (EMPA) Candidate, Maxwell School, Syracuse University

Mitch Forbes joined the Army in 2012 and was deployed to Afghanistan in 2013. The following year, his platoon was ambushed and Mitch was wounded by enemy small arms fire. He underwent dozens of surgical procedures while recovering at Walter Reed Military Medical Center at Bethesda, MD. After being medically retired, Mitch earned a BA in Policy Studies from Syracuse University, and is currently an EMPA candidate at Syracuse's Maxwell School. 

  • Christopher Tonsmeire, MA in International Relations (MAIR) Candidate, Maxwell School, Syracuse University

Chris Tonsmeire enlisted in the US Army Reserves as a Combat Engineer following his freshman year in college. Shortly after, the events of September 11th, 2001 changed his education plans. Chris received a conditional release to enter active duty as a Special Forces Recruit and served two combat tours in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. During his second tour, he was wounded in action and was unable to remain an active member of Special Forces. In 2009, he separated from the military to continue his education. Chris has been awarded a Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and Combat Infantryman’s Badge for his service.

  • Mikel Rodriguez, Master of Science in Foreign Service (MSFS) Program, School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University

Navy Lieutenant Mikel Rodriguez has over 3 years of international experience including multiple deployments to Afghanistan. During his second duty in Afghanistan, a recoilless rifle round landed a few feet from him, causing significant damage to his back. Mikel underwent extensive spinal surgery, then continued his service following recovery. Mikel spent four years living in Spain, working closely with foreign partners in Europe and Africa as well as with the Department of State. Today, he is interested in learning about statecraft, international diplomacy and negotiation, with a goal to enter a career in foreign policy.

Read more about Mikel here.

To learn more about the SoldierScholar program and how to donate, visit

About SoldierStrong
SoldierStrong, previously known as SoldierSocks, helps American patriots literally take their new steps forward. Through educational scholarships and by harnessing the most innovative technology in advanced rehabilitation, we help our returning service men and women to continue moving in the only direction they should know – forward. Nearly every dollar SoldierStrong receives goes towards direct support of American patriots so that they can re-acclimate to civilian life. Our organization works to remind those men and women who sacrificed so much that we are forever thankful. 

Rachel Harrison

1127 High Ridge Road #124
Stamford, Connecticut 06905
Telephone: 888-898-3235
Facebook: SoldierStrong
Twitter: @soldierstrong



Last updated on: 09/11/2017

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