Dragons Who Serve: Justin Kester

Veterans Day honors those who have served in the United States military. MSUM recognizes the courageous efforts of the people who have dedicated their lives to protecting our freedom and rights. Many students, staff, and faculty on campus have served in this way. This week we recognize a few individuals for their sacrifice and service.  

Today we honor Justin Kester, a first-year computer science student at MSUM. Justin’s experience in the military lent a hand in determining their major in school.  

“I would strive to learn how our equipment worked to the smallest scale so I could further understand and support operations better, but I always hit a brick wall when it came to the software,” says Justin. “It was a specialized area that always interested me, so I took the opportunity to pursue it as my field of study.”  

For six years, Justin was an active duty member of the 2-17th Cavalry, 101st CAB. Their official position was Unmanned Aircraft Systems Repairer. Before this, Justin spent five years as crew chief, three years as a technical inspector, and one year with production control. Justin served in Fort Campbell, Kentucky.  

One of Justin’s best experiences within the Army was having autonomy in their role. They enjoyed focusing on the job's technicality and not having to worry about extra duties or micromanagers. Working with UAVs and ground equipment was a highly independent job that inspired autonomy and leadership duties. 

Being in the military supplied Justin with many vital life skills, such as self-sufficiency, technical knowledge, and pride in their work. Although the military life was not something Justin decided to do long term, their experience is something they enjoyed while it lasted, and they have not regretted it in the slightest. 

Justin usually spends Veterans Day celebrating with family. 

On behalf of MSUM, thank you for your service to this country and we wish you all the best in your academic career!  

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