HUA! heard, understood, acknowledged
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The purpose of this qualitative study was to understand the identities and experiences of women student veterans through their narratives. This research advances the knowledge of women student veterans in college and the practice of student affairs professionals serving them by providing insight into this group of women. In this study, ten women student veterans shared stories of their experiences joining the military and attending college, the influence of military service on their lives, and the identities that shape who they are as women at this time in their lives. Ten semi-structured interview questions were asked of each participant, each of whom had been enrolled in college at least two semesters, had served in the military on or after September 11, 2001, was 18 years old or older, and identified as female. The study focused on the research questions: How does the identity status of women veterans, as measured by Josselson’s theory of identity development in women (1996), affect how they experience college and how do the experiences of women student veterans in the military and in college influence their identity as women? Guided by her, this study provides insights that women student veterans fit within all four identity statuses, and how they experience college and their identities are understood through the application of Josselson’s theory. This study found that, although these women student veterans’ stories reflect the four identity statuses of Josselson’s theory, they were also all different. Their life, military, and college experiences shaped their lives, and who they are as women, and all agreed that their military service had an impact on their lives. This research advances the knowledge and understanding of this growing population of student veterans.