Celebrating our 2023 Graduates

Graduate School-Bound Veteran Finds Support and Success at Roger

By Melanie Thibeault
Joshua Gallardo and his daughter

After graduation, Joshua Gallardo ’23, a Psychology major and Philosophy minor, will attend William James College for a master’s in clinical mental health counseling with a concentration in military and veteran psychology. His ultimate goal is to work as a veteran coordinator at a college. Gallardo, a veteran who’s married and has a daughter, served as a fire control technician for the U.S. Navy, stationed in Groton, Conn.  

Inspiring Internship: “I interned with the state of Rhode Island, helping connect veterans with resources. If they needed help with G.I. bill benefits or any type of mental health support, I would send them to the right place and get them the correct referrals. It helped me learn about the veteran mindset. Sometimes vets put up a wall and don’t want to admit they’re struggling. Learning different ways to establish a relationship between yourself and a client was super helpful. At the end of the day, it’s about helping them.”  

Coursework Sets Foundation for Graduate School: “One of the most helpful classes taught me about APA writing. Learning scientific writing is very important if you’re going into a Psychology field and will be very helpful going into a graduate program. One of my professors also took me to a national communication conference where I got to present about student engagement. That got my foot in the door; when I’m in grad school, I’ll be required to do some work outside of school. Next year I’m going to a conference about ways to help veterans on campus.”   

Finding a Support System on Campus: “At first, I struggled at Roger. There’s not a huge veteran community. A lot of vets who are nontraditional students struggle and feel like they don’t fit in. Once I got to know some of my teachers and staff around campus, they were more than willing to help with all the things I was dealing with. My first semester at Roger, having a baby, every teacher was very accommodating and welcoming. Now, everything is great. I enjoy being here.”  

Gallardo, who works for the Military Affiliate Resource Center on campus, grew up in Anaheim, Calif.  

Every spring, as Commencement nears, RWU spotlights members of the graduating class. Suggestions are welcome. Email: stories@rwu.edu 

Celebrating our 2023 Graduates