Meet IU employee veterans
In honor of Veterans Day, IU Today caught up with several employees across the university who have served in the military.
Here are their stories:
Tim Stockton, IU Bloomington
Before Tim Stockton started a 30-year career at Indiana University, he found direction in the U.S. Army.
Stockton, who has worked for IU since 1992, is the interim executive director of Residential Programs and Services in Bloomington with responsibility for housing and dining. But such a career wasn’t on his radar as a teen.
“I graduated high school with no idea what I might do,” he said. “The military allowed me to get it together, so to speak.”
Stockton served seven years in the Army, leaving with the rank of sergeant. He was a driver for the chief of staff at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, and an armor crew member on M60 and M1 Abrams tanks.
As a veteran at IU, he said he’s happy to connect with and help other veterans on campus.
“If I can help a veteran returning to IU or a student soldier that’s currently enrolled with issues or problems they might have, that’s a good day,” he said.
Stockton said he gets emotional on Veterans Day, not about anything he did while serving but for those who made incredible sacrifices.
“Those whose lives were changed forever or are no longer with us, I will honor them,” Stockton said. “I worked with an older African American gentleman at the post headquarters at Fort Jackson. He worked in a civilian role as the custodian, a nice, unassuming person. One day out of the blue, he told me about his experience during the D-Day invasion. He was there. I think about him often, and especially on D-Day.”
Bev Marshall, IU Kokomo
Bev Marshall, a human resources assistant at IU Kokomo, said her military service brings to mind a single word: opportunity.
“Growing up in a mid-size town in Indiana, the Air Force gave me the opportunity to learn skills in leadership that have lasted me a lifetime,” she said. “I joined active duty when I was 19. Being able to experience that kind of strength, independence and belonging as a teenager definitely shaped me into the strong, independent woman I am today.”
While her primary job was administrative support, Marshall did security police work on a base in Texas during Operation Desert Storm when others were deployed. She spent a decade in the Air Force and is the only woman in her family who has served.
She said she was drawn to IU Kokomo for the chance to work with students.
“Their energy and enthusiasm is contagious, and working with them truly does help keep you young,” she said.
Marshall served as advisor for the campus Student Veterans Organization from 2015 to 2017. During that time, she said, the group collected supplies for their local veterans homeless shelter, participated in the annual Haynes Apperson Festival parade and worked with students who had returned from deployment by connecting them to their local veterans affairs officer and American Legion.
Aaron Shaw, IU School of Medicine
Aaron Shaw, a Navy veteran and scientist at the IU School of Medicine, did not plan on going from the military to the molecular lab. But he always planned on pursuing higher education after serving his country.
“I couldn’t afford to go to college, so I joined the Navy for the G.I. bill,” Shaw said.
He served in the Navy from 1996 to 2006 as a boatswain’s mate.
“That’s basically a grunt,” he said. “We drove boats, took care of the ships, painted and loaded vehicles. We worked with all different people from all different branches.”
After traveling the world in the service, the Kentucky native chose to attend college close to home. At IU Southeast, he developed an interest in science. He graduated in 2009 with bachelor’s degrees in biology and chemistry, then earned a Ph.D. in medical and molecular genetics at the IU School of Medicine, which led to a career with the school. He has been an associate technical supervisor and research development analyst with the IU Vector Production Facility at the school since 2016.
“We make viral vectors for gene therapy clinical trials, producing treatments for disorders from severe childhood immune deficiencies to cutting-edge cancer treatments,” Shaw said. “Our trials happen all over the world. It is rewarding work.”
When he’s not in the lab, Shaw participates in veterans’ organizations. He is one of the founding members of American Legion Post 360 in Indianapolis and a member of the IUPUI Veterans Faculty and Staff Council. He encourages any faculty, staff and students who are veterans to get involved as well.
“There’s a stereotype that it’s a bunch of grumpy old men sitting around smoking, and that’s not the case. We do a lot of community service and other events,” Shaw said. “More importantly, as a veteran, you always feel a bit like an outsider, so it’s nice to have fellow vets to get together with who can relate to your experiences.”
Dan Riordan, IU Northwest
When Dan Riordan finished eight years of service in the U.S. Marine Corps, he felt lost in his post-military life.
He tried a little bit of everything: pursuing a college degree, working in factories, driving a truck, working in real estate and dealing blackjack.
“During all these changes in my life, I kept thinking the next thing was going to make me happy,” Riordan said.
He finally went to the Gary Area Vet Center in Crown Point, Indiana, looking for some direction. When he learned more about his VA education benefits, he decided to give a college degree another try. After starting at a community college, Riordan transferred to IU Northwest and was surprised by how much he enjoyed his classes.
“I wound up actually succeeding a lot in school,” he said. “I became more of myself here.”
One of the first things Riordan did once he arrived on campus was look into student organizations for veterans. When he didn’t find what he was looking for, he founded the Military Service Association, and he also played a large role in establishing the Veterans Resource Center on campus.
Now advocating for and helping student veterans is part of his job. As the campus’s veterans services coordinator in the Academic Success and Achievement Programs office who is also pursuing his MBA, Riordan helps other student veterans find educational resources or the support they need to find their way.
“The reason I do what I do is that the times I needed help the most, I was lucky enough to find and get the help,” he said. “I want to ensure that veteran students, dependents and the military connected on our campus know they have a place to come to.”
Stories by Barbara Brosher, Bethany Nolan, Tia Broz and Kirk Johannesen in the Office of the Vice President for Communications and Marketing.