Kevin Newsom ‘22: A Veteran With a Vision
Non-traditional student and military veteran Kevin Newsom ‘22 says his service and undergraduate career may both be over, but his life is just getting started.
By Amber Francis ‘22
After his time in the Marines, Kevin Newsom ‘22 saw many of the men and women he served alongside lose their sense of purpose and drive. Many struggled with mental health and depression from the uncertainty of life after service. In fact between 2010-2011, more than 1.1 million veterans were diagnosed with at least one of five mental illnesses — depression, PTSD, substance use disorder, anxiety, and schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. It was the desire to remind veterans their lives are just getting started that motivated Newsom to continue his undergraduate education in earnest.
“I am where I am now and doing what I do for the men and women who used to serve in uniform,” Newsom declared.
Newsom’s road to Aggieland was, in a word, non-traditional. A year prior to his service he attended Blinn in Brenham during the 2013-2014 academic year, then went on to attend Sam Houston State University following his four-and-a-half years of service before making the big transfer in the fall of 2019. Though Kevin himself is a first-generation college student, he grew up around tailgates and Texas A&M University football thanks in no small part to his uncle and two cousins, all of whom are Aggies. Driven by his experiences and family connections, Newsom made up his mind.
“I decided that if I’m only doing this once, and I wanted nothing more than an incredible college experience,” Newsom proclaimed. “Sam Houston was a great school, but the experience you get at this place is just amazing.”
Fittingly, upon his arrival at Texas A&M, Newsom didn’t just integrate; he excelled, truly coming into his own both as an Aggie and as a person. He accomplished his goals not just through academics, but through actively shaping his community, a sentiment echoed by his advisor Ziena Miller.
“While his academic focus and successes are noteworthy, Kevin also maintained his commitments to the military while at Texas A&M and has excelled there as well,” Miller said. “Kevin has never wavered in his responsibilities to his degree, and has taken on leadership roles within the Corps and the campus community that have only enhanced his academic pursuits.”
Newsom’s Corps leadership role is within the all-veteran’s unit known as Delta Company, of which Newsom is the executive officer. As an all-veteran’s unit, it is far from the traditional Corps experience. Despite this, Delta Company members still get to set an example to other students in the Corps everyday. As a Marine who came out of the infantry and missed the camaraderie of service, Newsom used the Delta Company as a transitioning program for himself.
It’s actually through Delta Company that Newsom found employment with Texas A&M’s Veterans Resource Center. Upon being asked by a fellow student if he wanted to be a part of the leadership for student veterans, he leapt at the call. Needing a part-time job to make ends meet, Newsom initially assumed he’d be handling typical office work. That proved to be far from the case. The Veterans Resource Center on campus is responsible for helping countless veterans who are stressed out and overwhelmed. From everything to stress about being activated to the uncertainty of admission questions, the self-proclaimed family at the VRC work together to help set veterans up for success.
“It’s been a huge honor to work here. I’m at my most satisfied just hearing a fellow student veteran say thank you and give that sigh of relief,” Newsom shared. “That’s why we all love working there, not just as a team, but a family.”
Born out of a desire to learn more about people, Newsom once again chose the path less traveled and pursued a degree in sociology with the College of Liberal Arts. During his time in the military he was intrigued by getting to see people from different cultures . People in general fascinated Newsom, down to their thought processes.
“I’ll be honest, sometimes they even fascinate me in why they walk in front of a bus without looking while staring at their phones,” Newsom joked. “On a real note though, I wanted a deeper understanding in why cultures shift; why people as a whole operate like they do.”
Though his time at Texas A&M draws to a close, great things await Newsom beyond campus borders, such as the job offer out in New Braunfels that he’s set to start the Monday after graduation. It’s a door opened thanks in no small part to his time in Aggieland.
“My experience has been nothing short of amazing,” Newsom said proudly. “From getting to be a part of a leadership role on the Quad that I always thought I’d never be a part of, to becoming a speaker on behalf of student veterans, to receiving my Aggie Ring in a private ceremony because I’m a student veteran, I got to live my dream in full. I’m so glad I get to show the guys I served with that you can do it. It is possible. Just go get it.”