Loyola University Chicago

MVSS: Military Veteran Student Services

Meet the MVSS Staff

Office of Military Veteran Student Services

Director- Alex Pirila is originally from Phoenix, AZ, where after high school he joined the United States Marine Corps as a rifleman in the infantry. Upon completing his training, Alex deployed to Bahrain as a member of the 2nd Fleet Anti-Terrorism Team. Following his first deployment, Alex was sent to join "The Thundering Third" Battalion, Fourth Marines in 29 Palms, California. While with 3/4, Alex deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom as a team leader and squad leader, respectively.

Alex was honorably discharged from the Marines and returned to Phoenix to begin his academic studies. He has earned a bachelor's in exercise science from Arizona State University, and a master's degree in exercise psychology from the University of Northern Colorado. As a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, he has worked with a wide breadth of athletes from youth and high school to professional and US special operations. His research focused on the effects of exercise on PTSD in military servicemembers.

While he enjoyed working in a training facility, Alex missed the camaraderie and is thrilled to be working with student veterans. His door is always open, stop by, Sullivan Student Center 155.

Assistant Director- Lily Hasler is originally from northwest Indiana, where she moved to Arizona to achieve her educational goals at the University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ. During her degree programs, she worked for 5 years as a work-study in the Veterans Services Office certifying students and assisting them through their GI Bill applications. As a Vietnam Veteran dependent, Lily utilized the Chapter 35 GI Bill benefit to assist with her education. Upon attaining her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education with an emphasis on community impact, she taught in the greater Tucson area in an 8th grade humanities classroom. Moving back to the Chicago area in 2022, she worked as an SCO (school certifying official) for the online university of the University of Arizona Global Campus. Being familiar with the military student experience in higher education, she wanted to continue her passion for helping student veterans and dependents on their own educational journeys.

Benefits Coordinator - Kimberly Davenport is a recent graduate with a BS in Psychology and French in the College of Arts and Sciences. She is the daughter of a career retired Naval Aviator and comes from a line of military veterans who have served in every major U.S. War. Kimberly's sister currently serves as a Naval Officer aboard a destroyer homeported in San Diego. During her undergraduate program at Loyola, she worked as a student worker with the MVSS office. She now acts as Loyola's primary School Certifying Official and has contiued to share her knowledge on all things VA educational benefits with the military affilaited community.

MVSS Student Coordinator - Caroline Fawcett is a freshman studying both psychology and philosophy on the pre-law track. Her father served in the army during Desert Storm, and currently one of her four sisters is serving in the army as a First Lieutenant down in El Paso. Caroline is a Loyola University Women's Gannon Scholar, and she is passionate about providing a welcoming and safe space for all in the military community. As a student worker, she hopes to work to create positive change for Loyola’s MVSS office and beyond!

MVSS Student Coordinator - Jonathan Houser is a Computer Science junior at the College of Arts and Sciences, hailing from Central Wisconsin. After completing two years of college, he enlisted in the United States Navy as a Nuclear Electrician. He served as an instructor on MTS-626 in Charleston, SC, certifying nuclear-enlisted sailors and officers before joining CVN68 USS Nimitz in Washington as an operator in the reactor electrical department for two years.

After an honorable discharge, Jonathan continued his academic journey at Loyola University Chicago. He's a passionate member of the MVSS office, actively working to build a sense of community among fellow veterans and provide support for those transitioning to civilian life.

MVSS Student Coordinator - Kelly McCabe is from Itasca, IL, and started school at Carthage College before deciding to join the United States Marine Corps. Now, she is a Junior studying Cybersecurity with a minor in Computer Crime and Forensics. She is a 3rd generation Marine after her Dad and two Grandpas.  Kelly is still currently serving in the Marine Corps as a network administrator for the 4th Marine Air Wing based out of Miramar, California, and previously worked as a Marine Corps Recruiter for Chicago.  Her long-term goal is to finish her degree at Loyola University so she can be commissioned as an Officer to continue her career in the military.  With high values in service over self and the pursuit of higher education, Kelly wants to help fellow military-affiliated students succeed and guide them to their available resources.

MVSS Student Coordinator - John McHugh is from Rockford, IL where he went to Rock Valley College originally and then decided to join the United States Air Force in 2015 as a Target Digital Network Analyst at NSA-Washington. He was stationed with the 22nd Intelligence Squadron and the Special Operations Division in which he became a team lead and eventually NCOIC over the division. He completed three combat deployments with Task Force over his six-year enlistment in Jordan and Iraq for Operation Inherent Resolve. In 2021, John transitioned to civilian life and joined U.S. Cyber Command contracting for SAIC as a cyber analyst for eight months before moving back to Illinois. Currently, he is a junior at Quinlan studying Business Management with the goal of creating his own government contracting company. John’s passion at Loyola is to help his fellow veterans understand their earned benefits and strive for a better life through them.

MVSS Student Coordinator - Scotty Monteith is a junior studying Environmental Policy in the School of Environmental Science. He is the son of two army officers and grew up in and around the military community. His older sisters are in the Army Reserves and his younger sister is in Army ROTC at Portland University. As part of MVSS, he hopes to increase the community between dependents, veterans, and the school.

Student Veterans Chaplain - David Herr SJ is a Jesuit studying social philosophy at Loyola. He originally comes from southwest Iowa where he grew up on his family’s farm. David comes from a family with many veterans. His father served in the Army for twenty years. His grandfather served in the US Army in Europe in WWII and his other grandfather served in the Marine Corps. David studied psychology at Creighton University where he was first introduced to the Jesuits and Ignatian spirituality. He earned a master's in clinical psychology from Missouri State and worked as a therapist before joining the Jesuits. His specialties in psychology include posttraumatic stress and existential psychology (psychology of meaning in life, death, identity, freedom, and human connection.).

David joined the Jesuits in 2019 and has since enjoyed a variety of experiences including tutoring, working in homeless and prison ministry, working as a hospital chaplain, and doing the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola.    

David is happy to serve as a chaplain to Loyola’s student veterans. As a chaplain, he offers spiritual and religious accompaniment to any student veteran who desires it and offers support and companionship for people of all faiths or none. If you see him hanging around the SVA, please say “Hello.” You can reach him at dherr2@luc.edu.