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Panel discussion to examine issues unique to Post-9/11 women veterans

November 06, 2013

In honor of Veterans Day, the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and the Carnegie-Knight News21 Initiative at Arizona State University are hosting a special panel discussion examining the unique issues and challenges that female veterans face when they return home from war.

The discussion is set to take place at 7 p.m., Nov. 12, in the First Amendment Forum at the Cronkite School on ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus. The event is free and open to the public and is part of ASU’s Salute to Service, a weeklong Veterans Day celebration.

The panel of three female veterans and a representative from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will talk about the important social and environmental issues facing female veterans from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The panelists will share inspiring personal stories and discuss concerns such as veteran unemployment and homelessness, as well as the services needed to help female veterans.

The panelists are Melissa Meierdierks, a licensed clinical social worker for the Phoenix VA Health Care System; Kelly Schramm, a U.S. Army veteran and medic who served two tours in Iraq; Joan E. Sisco, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and president of Veterans First LTD, an organization that helps homeless women veterans; and Zeny Stuart, a U.S. Army veteran and former paratrooper, who also works with homeless veterans.

The discussion will be moderated by Carnegie-Knight News21 executive editor Jacquee Petchel, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist. News21 is a student multimedia reporting initiative funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation that is headquartered at the Cronkite School. Its latest award-winning investigation Back Home examined the enduring battles facing Post-9/11 veterans.

“More women deployed to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan than any previous conflict,” Petchel said. “We look forward to hearing their stories and understanding how these female veterans have reshaped their lives after serving their country.”

Salute to Service is an annual, weeklong celebration through ASU and the Pat Tillman Veterans Center that honors veterans and active military personnel with a series of events on all four campuses. Events include a Marine Corps relay run, faculty and veteran panel discussions and military appreciation ceremonies at university sporting events.