Bearing the Torch for Veterans


After six years of U.S. Army service that included several deployments to Iraq, Seamus Murphy, MPP Class of 2024, earned his bachelor’s degree from Cornell University, worked in consulting, then enrolled at the Harris School of Public Policy in 2022.

He’d heard about a Harris student organization, knew that it had powerful, direct relevance to his life and a broader significance at the school and joined right away.

The organization is Military Affiliated Students of Harris (MASH), a relatively new but increasingly important group that, among other pursuits, advocates for veterans at Harris and bridges the civilian-military gap. For a Friday and Saturday in January, MASH demonstrated that bridge building with an experiential exercise that drew dozens of students from across Harris.

“I think it's valuable to continue to act as a torchbearer for the veteran community at a school where folks might not be exposed to veterans very often,” said Murphy, MASH president this year. Research shows that veterans make up 1-2 percent of college students at elite institutions; roughly 6 percent at universities overall. “It’s valuable to advocate for a seat at the table at Harris and in the UChicago community, writ large,” he added.

As a small, federally protected population, veterans have specific issues that need advocacy, Murphy said. MASH serves that advocacy role and empowers students to learn about all the available resources “to have a quintessential UChicago experience,” Murphy said.

“And we want to get folks employed in whatever sector they want to work in,” he added. “It’s really about ensuring that a channel of support exists for veterans across Harris and the wider community.”

To read the full story, go to the website for the Harris School of Public Policy, here.

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