Veterans Services Associate
It’s a ritual, this project of mine, and every morning while I stand here sanding I put No Leaf Clover on repeat. I think of 9/11, and of the towers, and I think of how I never saw the first plane hit, how I never saw it but how we were in formation, having come back from a platoon run, and how Gunny came marching out with his boots clonking on the asphalt, all Drill Instructor-like, and tells us, “It’s a good day to be alive, Gents!”
-from J. Scott Smith’s short story, “Poly Trauma”
“Well rounded” could be one way to describe Scott Smith, Marine Corps veteran who holds multiple degrees, has lived in numerous places throughout the world, has worked many different jobs, is a published writer, and loves woodworking almost as much as he loves listening to Metallica. A better way to describe him might be “incredibly dedicated.”
Scott’s embrace of a life less ordinary has led him on a unique path to Middlesex Community College where he works as a Veterans Services Associate, helping fellow veterans start or advance careers in health and life sciences.
Along this path, Scott served in the Marine Corps for four years and completed two tours of duty with the 1st Marine Division, 3rd Battalion 5th Marines Regiment (3/5) Weapons Company during the Iraq War (2003-2004). He has written many stories and poems based on his war experiences, including the following published work:
- Days and Night in Iraq, Lana Turner, Fall 2008
- March 25th, War, Literature and the Arts, Fall 2010
- Up in the Gun, A Public Space Fall, 2013
- Poly Trauma, War, Literature and the Arts, Fall 2014
Scott has earned several academic degrees along his path, including: an associate’s of arts in anthropology (Los Angeles Valley College); a bachelor’s of arts in English (Saint Louis University); and a master’s of fine arts in fiction writing (the University of Iowa’s Writers’ Workshop). He also studied French at UCLA, and is working on a master’s degree in social work/mental health at Southern Connecticut State University.
Additionally, Scott’s path in life has included varied and appealing jobs such as teaching English while living in France, leading wine tours in Cognac, France, teaching creative writing to veterans, conducting outdoor therapy programs (fishing and golfing) for veterans, and working at Costco. Each job helped broaden his experience and life view, and helped him focus his own talents and desire to serve.
Today his job at MxCC focuses on continued service to veterans. His office is in MxCC’s OASIS center, where he helps veterans receive the support they need to succeed in their academics and future aspirations. He oversees a proactive outreach effort to encourage veterans to consider a career in health or life sciences, and helps them get started at MxCC. His position (and a similar position he held at Norwalk Community College) is funded through a federal grant designed toprovide individuals with affordable options for gaining the skills and knowledge necessary to find employment in growing health and life science fields.
When he’s not on campus or working on another short story or poem, Scott enjoys time with his wife, Jill, and very young daughters, Ava and Amelia. And, as mentioned earlier, he loves woodworking almost as much as he loves listening to Metallica.