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A Kirtland Vet’s Journey: Julie Lavender

Julie Lavender, Vice President of Instructional Services at Kirtland Community College, enlisted in the Army after high school because of a desire to serve her country.  Following three years as combat medic, she went through nursing school/ROTC and three more years of active duty as a nurse serving on bases including Ft. Sam Houston (TX) and Ft. Hood (TX).

Julie Lavender, Kirtland's Vice President of Instructional Services, shares her "Vet's Journey" story as we prepare to launch our newest blog recognizing Kirtland veterans.

Julie Lavender, Kirtland’s Vice President of Instructional Services, shares her “Vet’s Journey” story as we launch our newest blog recognizing Kirtland veterans.

After her enlisted service, Julie used VA money to pay for college and continued to serve as a reserve officer as part of the Simultaneous Membership Program.  As an Army Nurse she was sent to the Pediatric Nursing Course in Hawaii, helping her to prepare for her NICU nursing certification exam.  As a reservist, Julie reached the rank of Major before resigning her commission.

Julie shares:

Ft. Sam Houston was my favorite.  My favorite job as an Army Nurse was my time in the Neonatal ICU at Brooke Army Medical Center.  We were involved in cutting edge research and high tech care.  It was a stressful environment (especially during Operation Desert Stork after Desert Storm) but the team atmosphere was unmatched in any other job I had.

I once got to fly in a general’s Lear jet to Panama to pick up a sick baby.  The baby was too ill to travel when we arrived so we stayed for three days to stabilize him.  The last evening we were able to go to dinner and had a tour of the Panama Canal region. It was a scary time in Panama (riots all over the city) but beautiful none the less.

I did most of my world travels as a military spouse (my husband served 29 years).  I lived in Germany with my family and we visited Denmark, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, England, Scotland, France (I’ve been to Paris six times!), Italy, Spain, Tunisia, Sicily, Switzerland, Majorca, Austria, Lichtenstein, Czech Republic , Poland and Korea, where my husband was stationed at the time.

Following her extensive military experience, Julie continued her education earning an MS as a Maternal Child Clinical Nurse Specialist, certification as a Maternal Newborn Nurse, and most recently earned her doctorate degree in E-Learning and Teaching Online.

So what about you?  Are you a current or former student?  A Kirtland employee?  No matter your role in our Kirtland Family, if you’re a veteran, we would be honored to have your share your story. To contribute to our newest blog, A Kirtland Vet’s Journey, please contact, or Veterans Helping Veterans advisor Anne Essmaker at

Kirtland.  Be the future.