Meet the MVSS Staff
Office of Military Veteran Student Services
Associate Director- Alex is originally from Phoenix, AZ, where after high school he joined the United States Marine Corps as an 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 bachelors in exercise science from Arizona State University, and a masters degree in exercise psychology from the University of Northern Colorado. As a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, he has worked a wide breadth of athletes from youth and high school to professional and US special operations. His research focused on the affects 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- Oscar L. Barrera joined Loyola in May 2019 and enjoys working with faculty, staff, and students. He is a graduate of the Trinity Christian College where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Oscar currently serves as an Assistant Director in the Financial Aid Office. In his role, Oscar works with MVSS: Military Veteran Student Services as a VA Certifying Official. He is also a member of ILASFAA (Illinois Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators) and B4E (Brothers for Excellence). His passion is empowering students to realize their potential and fulfill their personal and educational goals. In his free time, he enjoys boxing, grilling and spending time with family and friends.
MVSS Student Coordinator & SVA Vice President- Carly is a graduating senior Environmental Studies major at the School of Environmental Sustainability. Carly is originally from Worcester, Ma where after high school she joined the United States Navy as a damage controlman. After completing basic training and specialist school in Great Lakes, she carried out her remaining 4 years of active-duty onboard USS James E Williams (DDG 95) stationed out of Norfolk, VA. Carly served in the Naval Reserves during her first three years of attending Loyola University before being re-activated and deployed to Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard for COVID-19 efforts. As her 8 years of service has come to an end, she is now focused on obtaining her Master of Science degree within the School of Environmental Sustainability. As a student coordinator in the MVSS office she is constantly seeking out new ways to get the military connected community more involved and situated on campus.
SVA President- Josh is an undergraduate junior majoring in Biology with a molecular cellular focus. He is a Marine Corp veteran who served as a 2311 Ammunition Technician stationed in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina with units such as 2nd Battalion 6th Marine Regiment and 2nd Marine Logistics Group. After service, Josh moved back to Chicago IL to pursue a degree in biology at Loyola University. In late 2021, Josh began his current position as Student Veterans of America Chapter President. His vision as Student Veterans of America President, is to develop a sense of community for student veterans at Loyola University Chicago.
SVA Secretary- Joe is an Air Force veteran and junior studying English at LUC. Prior to enrolling at Loyola, Joe was enlisted as an In-Flight Refueling Specialist stationed primarily at McConnell AFB; his career in aviation took him to over 15 states and 7 countries around the world. Joe wants to grow the student veteran presence on campus and assist incoming Loyola vets in their transition from military to civilian life, while helping them make the leap to becoming a successful college student.
SVA Treasurer- Olivia Rodriguez is a senior in the School of Environmental Sustainability at Loyola University Chicago, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science: Food Systems and Sustainable Agriculture. Olivia has been serving in the Army Reserves since 2017 as a Medic. Her goal as SVA Treasurer is to support and engage with student veterans and military affiliates through SVA events.
SVA Administrative Director- Alex Farkas is a senior Biology major at the College of Arts and Sciences, and on the pre-med track, pursuing her second bachelor's degree. She immigrated to the US, alone and without knowing English, 7 years ago. A couple of years after her arrival, she joined the US Army as a combat medic and is currently a member of the IL National Guard. During her years of service, Alex was mobilized to the northern California wildfires in 2018, and to a mass vaccination mission in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021, where she vaccinated several thousand people. Her goal as SVA Admin Director is to support the needs of student veterans on campus and to connect with fellow service members.
SVA Marketing and Communications Director- Colin Andersen is a Undergraduate Junior majoring in Communications and hoping to work in Public Relations. He is an army veteran that served for five years as a Human Intelligence Collector and Levantine Arabic linguist. His time in the army was split between working for the 1st Cavalry Division and training with the 504th Expeditionary Military Intelligence Brigade, both located at Fort Hood, Texas. After completing his service, Colin moved back to Chicago to complete one year of schooling near his hometown at College of DuPage. He later settled on attending Loyola in order to complete his undergraduate degree. While at the school Colin hopes to elevate SVA events and operations to a higher level of visibility and use that visibility to help establish the veteran community..
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 masters 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 veterans 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 email@example.com.