Mike Pereira has dedicated his life to helping veterans complete their hardest mission – the return to civilian life. As a veteran himself, he understands the challenges that returning veterans face. Mike enrolled in college after a career in the United States Army, having served in Germany, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Like many adult students, he balances school, home, and work responsibilities, but he also incorporates active community service involvement and support to fellow veterans.
Mike’s service involvement began when he founded a veterans’ group at Whatcom Community College in Washington State and noticed the benefits of community service to veterans with post-traumatic stress. A fellowship with The Mission Continues, a non-profit that aims to unite veterans in community service, brought him to St. Louis and Washington University where he is currently enrolled as an undergraduate student in University College, pursuing a double major in Anthropology and Psychology in the honors program. He went on to found Pathfinder Initiative, an organization that creates a curriculum for veterans to participate in equine-assisted therapy with developmentally-challenged youth, for which he received an award from Clinton Global Initiative University. He has attended national conferences to spread the word about this work and plans to attend graduate school to study, in greater depth, the effects of community service on post-traumatic stress disorder.
As an advocate for veterans issues on campus, Mike is a warm, friendly, and supportive member of the veteran community. He co-founded WUVETS, a campus-wide veterans’ group, and leads the volunteer efforts of the organization. He demonstrates the best of what a student can offer the University community. As Elisa Wang noted in her nomination, “Serving others is a way of life for Mike, as is evident in his outstanding record of service. He has a positive impact on the Washington University community and its understanding of veterans.”