COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Shae Diehl’s selfless service to fellow veterans at Texas A&M University-Kingsville has earned her the Texas A&M System’s first-ever Student Veteran Excellence Award.
Diehl served in the Navy as an aviation boatswains mate handling airman for three years. She is now a senior geology major and president of the university’s Student Veterans Association, where she is well-known for working overtime to help connect veterans to the services they have earned.
“Receiving this award means validation to me. It’s reassurance that the things I have done and will continue to do are putting the student veteran community of Texas A&M-Kingsville on the right track,” Diehl said. “It’s important, now more than ever, that student veterans know they’re not alone.”
Diehl, an Oklahoma native, met her husband, Chris, Petty Officer 2nd Class, while on active duty in Japan. He is stationed at the Naval Air Station in Kingsville. They have a three-year-old son, Dexter, who Diehl said inspired her to pursue higher education.
As she works toward earning her degree at A&M-Kingsville, Diehl remains committed to service. She is listed in the Inactive Ready Reserves until May 2021.
“The way I was raised, if you can help, you should help,” Diehl said. “It’s something that I’ve always tried to apply in any instance I can.”
Some of Diehl’s responsibilities as president of the association include promoting the organization and its events such as the annual Veterans Day Ceremony. By organizing fundraisers, Diehl and five other students, were able to go to Los Angeles for the Student Veterans of America National Conference (NATCON) in January 2020.
Diehl shares credit for her success with everyone in Kingsville who has supported the Student Veterans Association.
“We’ve come a long way, and it’s all because of the veterans and civilians who supported the SVA,” she said. “It’s truly been a team effort to get these ideas from my brain to reality.”
Eloy Gamez, Interim Director of Veteran Relations at Texas A&M-Kingsville, nominated Diehl for the award.
“Our Veterans Affairs Office took notice of her high-intensity enthusiasm of wanting what is best not only for her, but our student veteran body,” Gamez said. “She displayed a great sense of work ethic and dedication to study and served as the ideal mentor to our incoming students.”
Diehl said she enjoys helping students understand their veterans’ benefits.
“Truly it makes me so happy that I’m able to help someone gain clarity in anything involving their education,” she said. “College can be confusing so being able to fill that mentorship role has made me a better person and better leader.”
About The Texas A&M University System
The Texas A&M University System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation with a budget of $6.3 billion. The System is a statewide network of 11 universities; a comprehensive health science center; eight state agencies, including the Texas Division of Emergency Management; and the RELLIS Campus. The Texas A&M System educates more than 151,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceeded $1 billion in FY 2019 and helped drive the state’s economy.