Graduation profile 2011: Sean Nack

Sean Nack, 27, of Springfield, received a bachelor’s degree in international studies on June 13 from the University of Oregon. He is a veteran of the war in Afghanistan.

I chose to attend the University of Oregon because … it was close to family.

My most rewarding experience or proudest accomplishment at the UO was … getting to speak about Afghanistan so many times to people in INTL 199 (Conflict and Cooperation) and hearing their comments later about how I made them reconsider the war and veterans. I’ve literally had people come up to me after my first presentation two years ago and tell me what a difference I made.

The greatest obstacle I encountered while earning my degree was…. While serving in Afghanistan, I was blown up four times (two RPGs, one 120mm rocket, one IED), resulting in light to moderate brain damage that has severely impacted my memory. I attempted the language classes anyway, and while they didn’t exactly work out, I’m proud that I tried.

My greatest inspiration at the UO came from … watching people with actual disabilities just get to class. Seeing how badly they wanted to be there made me want to work harder.

The UO moment I will treasure most was … “winning” in Aid to Developing Countries, even though it wasn’t technically a competition. Great team effort, great group of people, great class, some of the best friends I made at the university.

My education at the UO has changed the course of my life because … it’s going to open doors for me to do bigger things with measurable impacts on peoples’ lives.

I plan to use my UO degree to … return to the military, if they’ll have me, and eventually work on reforming civil-military cooperation between the Department of Defense and Department of State.