While stationed at the Army’s 10th Mountain Division in Fort Drum, New York, Ryan Austin Yon set a goal to attend Syracuse University under the Green to Gold Scholarship Program. The program provides eligible, active-duty enlisted soldiers an opportunity to complete their first bachelor’s degree or first master’s degree and earn a commission as an Army officer. Yon succeeded in winning the scholarship and began at the University in 2019. He is a dual major, studying policy studies in the Maxwell School and data analytics in the School of Information Studies, while simultaneously serving as a cadet in the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).

Growing up in Clemson, South Carolina, Yon always knew he wanted to branch out. After reading “Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man’s Soul” by John Eldredge, Yon was inspired to joined the U.S. Army in 2017. “I then attended the Army dive school and just fell in love with the organization and continued to challenge myself,” he says.

Yon’s Army duty brought him to Fort Drum, where he served in the 548th Division Sustainment Support Battalion. From vehicle mechanic to public affairs officer to assisting in natural disasters, Yon fulfilled many roles–fixing and revamping gear t0 helping provide aid after Hurricane Sandy and the California wildfires.