Jessica Funes has been appointed the first-ever coordinator for inclusion for the City University of New York (CUNY) Office of Veterans Affairs (COVA).
Funes’s appointment is part of an effort to better support a diverse student-veteran and military-connected student community. CUNY’s student-veteran population is 32% Black, 27% Hispanic, 24% white, and 17% Asian. And women make up 26% of the population as well.
Funes, a three-time CUNY graduate, is an Army veteran who sustained a traumatic brain injury while serving in Iraq and lives with multiple disabilities. She is also a certified peer-to-peer mentor and clinical pastoral counselor.
Funes also helped organize the Nov. 4 COVA conference, “Pluralism and Diversity in the Military.”
“As a graduate who first gained my master’s at CUNY so I could begin a career advocating for someone like myself — a woman veteran with disabilities, and a Latina veteran who didn’t always have a voice in the world — I am thrilled to enlarge my life’s work as COVA’s coordinator for inclusion,” Funes said. “I am a testament to the University’s commitment to the student-veteran community as well as the power of a CUNY education.”
She holds an associate degree in managerial studies from LaGuardia Community College, a bachelor’s in sociology from Queens College, and a master’s degree in human rights from John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
“CUNY works concertedly to address the unique needs of military veterans as they transition from active service to student life, and for students from military-connected families. We’re proud of the growing platform of support services that is offered by CUNY’s Office of Veterans Affairs, and the appointment of the University’s first coordinator of inclusion reaffirms our efforts to ensure a diverse and inclusive student-veteran community,” said CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez. “On Veterans Day and every day, we express our profound gratitude to veterans for their courage, valor and indispensable service to our country, both overseas and closer to home.”