Spotlight: Veteran Ally Elisa Wang

Elisa Wang tells us a little about herself and
why she chose to be a veteran ally

Elisa Wang spent the first two years of her life on the Washington University campus, where her father was earning his PhD in Biology. She moved to Nashville Tennessee when he graduated and lived in Nashville through her college years at Vanderbilt University.

After college she went to law school and practiced law in St. Louis for a number of years. She retired in her early 30’s to raise her three children.

When her youngest child was ready for college, she was ready to go back to full time work and was lucky enough to get a job with University College at Washington University in 2012. She absolutely loves working with adults who are in college. She is honored to work with amazing colleagues on campus, and even more honored to share in the academic lives of the wonderful students that she serves.

What inspired you to become a Veteran Ally?

The students I work with have inspired me to become a Veteran Ally. Some have leaned into their status as veterans, and others have preferred to keep that information private. In particular, I worked with a student early in my time at Washington University who advocated for the University to serve veterans in a more intentional way. He taught me about the experience of veterans in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts from his own experiences. After he graduated, he earned an MSW and now works at the VA with homeless veterans.

Where do you think that you make the most impact as a Veteran Ally?

I feel I make the most impact student-by-student in helping my advisees achieve their academic goals. I hope that by being a Veteran Ally I can help students feel comfortable in working with me and letting me help them find resources they need.

When did you first decide to become a Veteran Ally?

As soon as I heard the program was available, I signed up!

Why do you feel that Washington University needs Veteran Allies?

Universities are not always eager to embrace change, and the more prestigious a university is, the more it reveres its traditions. Welcoming veteran students is fairly new in the 21st century at Washington University. I see it as a vital piece of the university’s larger commitment to serving diverse students, especially those who reside in the St. Louis area.

Other information that you feel that we should share about you.

I have learned more from the students I work with than I ever thought was possible. I am so grateful for the chance to serve veterans who have served me through their work in the U.S. military.

On November 13, 2021, at the Veterans Day Banquet, Elisa Wang’s dedication to the military-affiliated community was honored through the presentation of the Most Valuable Veteran Ally Award.