Amanda Lalonde ’23 isn’t your typical college student. And yet, she is. She takes a full course load, has an internship, is involved in several student organizations and is an orientation leader. But at the end of the day, she goes home to her husband and three children.
“I did not have this student experience when I first went to college—this is my second chance,” says Lalonde, a U.S. Navy veteran who previously attended Coastline Community College (graduating with an associate degree in applied marine engineering), Christopher Newport University and the University of South Florida for a semester before pausing her studies and joining the Navy.
Lalonde is a dual major studying psychology and forensic science through the College of Arts and Sciences. She says she loves learning about human behavior and finds her psychology classes particularly interesting as a parent to children with ADHD, even writing her honors thesis on educational support services for children with autism spectrum disorder. She’s also a research assistant in the Psychology Research Labs’ Intergroup Bias Lab.
Last January, Lalonde attended the Student Veterans of America National Conference—the largest gathering of student veterans in the world. She says the experience meeting student veterans from every corner of the world “flipped a switch” in her. Between that trip and her internship working on the Vet100 list, which honors the top 100 veteran-owned or military spouse-owned companies in America, with the D’Aniello Institute for Veteran and Military Families at Syracuse University (IVMF), she decided her true interest lies with working with other student veterans in a university setting.
The support she receives as a veteran is a big reason she chose to attend Syracuse University. “Not only do we have this gorgeous building—the National Veterans Resource Center at the Daniel and Gayle D’Aniello Building—that’s dedicated to veterans, but there are so many people at Syracuse who want you to succeed. Having that support helped me to stay motivated, to continue being here and to keep getting involved, because I know I don’t have to navigate this alone,” Lalonde says.
She’s also a member of the Forensic Science Student Association, the Student Veteran Organization, SALUTE (the veterans national honors society) and a team leader for the Peer Advisors for Veterans Education (PAVE) program. Lalonde is also a Renée Crown University Honors Program scholar and a 2022-23 Remembrance Scholar—one of the first student veterans ever selected