Guillermo Osorio is a DME writing intern from San Antonia, Texas. Guillermo was in the Marine Corps and Army from 2008-2009, and was also awarded the Army Achievement Award, Army Commendation Medal, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal and the National Defense Service Medal.
Guillermo found out about the DME Internship through his university’s website and thought joining would look good with his communications degree that he received from Ohio State University and the University of Maryland Global Campus. Guillermo works on the Borne the Battle Podcast and finds his work meaningful in many ways to veterans like him. The Borne the Battle podcast invites veterans to be interviewed by the host, Tanner Iskra, that is later reviewed by the transcription team and Guillermo and other writing interns who listen to the podcast and come up with a story to be put in the Borne the Battle blog.
Guillermo is a member of the Student Veterans of America, which is an organization of veterans that have served in the military and want to transfer some of their academic skills into the professional and academic world. The group instills leadership and communications skills to their many chapters in academic institutions.
One of the things that Guillermo says will help new interns who want to join the DME Internship is to “make the most of the experience, make the most of the work and the learning as much of whatever program you’re trained in.” The experience of this internship will help you not only in the classroom but later on in life in whatever field that looks for the experience and skills Guillermo and others have gained through their dedication with the internship every day.
Use the audio player to listen to Guillermo’s full interview, or read the transcript below:
Ep 21: Grace Yang – DME Interns
Shannon Moran: Hi and welcome back to the DME Interns podcast. Today we are talking to Guillermo. He is from San Antonio, Texas. He served in the US Marine Corps and the US Army. He fought all over the world. He was deployed from 2008 to 2009, and he has won numerous awards including the Army Achievement Award, the Army Commendation medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and a Marine Corps Unit Citation. He attended Ohio State University and the University of Maryland Global Campus. He was a part of the Student Veterans of America organization, in addition to a bunch of other ones. And we are so excited to have him as a part of our internship program. How are you today?
Guillermo Osorio: I’m doing very well, thank you very much!
SM: So, how did you find out about this internship?
GO: Actually it was a last minute announcement that came through my university website and the Vessey VRC blog where they post job postings, internships, what have you. I saw it and thought that would be a GREAT way to start off my journey after graduating with a Communications degree to get my foot in the right direction to where my path of study had gone. So, 5 hours remaining on the bid, I went to usajobs, I put it in, and lo and behold, I had no idea it was gonna go through but to my surprise in my email I got accepted. I thought, this is a sign, and went right for it.
SM: That’s, that’s awesome. Yeah it’s so fun how those things work out. So you are a writer for the Born The Battle umm…
SM: Podcast. So how do you like that so far?
GO: It’s amazing! I work with a very supportive staff: Tanner Iskra and Mary Adams. They are nothing but phenomenal, as well as the support of the fellow writers that I work with. Uhh. It’s been quite possibly some of the most rewarding work I’ve done in my field of study to date. And I can’t express how grateful I am to have this experience, and to be a part of something bigger than myself and to give back to the veterans means so much to me. Especially… it’s my small way of contributing to those who have served their sweat and blood over there and uhh… it means more than you know. So that’s my way of giving a token of returning my service to them.
SM: So for our listeners that don’t know: can you walk me through what is the podcast, what you do for them, and how all of that works?
GO: Sure! Well Tanner first of all. He basically does the interviews. He has all of his questions, gets his feedback from his interviewed guest. Then he shares that recording. We listen to it. The transcribers go verbatim, down to the wire. You know, who’s talking, make sure the accreditation is there. When all of their P’s and Q’s are stuck in a row they publish that out. In the meantime myself and the other writers will listen to the podcast and start doing a write up. As far as the history of their little story, and get into… kind of… nail it down into a digest for the Born the Battle blog bio. And when Tanner looks it over he does his edits, hands it over to us, tells us to put on the finishing touches with graphics, images, along with the transcripts, and he does the chopdown of the audio. And he packages all of that together, and then puts it out up to the higher-ups. They look it at, they approve it. Adam Stump, Ray Leale, and Dom Ramirez, they are all part of that loop. And then they give it their blessing, it is good to go, post it on the website. That’s the finished product that everybody sees on our website.
SM: I think so many people just hear, or see the finished product and they don’t realize all of the steps that go into making these things happen. And it’s really cool that you’re a part of that. So you are a member of the Student Veterans of America Association.
SM: Can you talk a little about what that is? I know we have a number of them within our program, so can you talk about that a little bit?
GO: Yeah! The Student Veterans of America, they… they’re pretty much a collaboration of veterans who have served prior in the military and gone onto academic endeavors and want to transfer some of their skills into the academic world and out into the professional world. So they’ve got this group that instills not only… I say epithets of leadership, but also professional camaraderie across the whole globe, wherever you may be as a part of that academic institution they might have a chapter. And if they don’t have a chapter, you can always request to have a chapter at your academic institution. Which is really cool because the University of Maryland Global Campus didn’t have their chapter approved until just recently — a few months ago — and they had published it on their website and in the community. I basically emailed them and said hey I want to be a part of this, what do I need to do? The rest is history, they emailed me, said “Welcome to the club, here’s everything you need.” It just goes from there. I’ve made connections with other students who are part of the chapter. If I need guidance, or professional advice, or academic advice, I can go to anybody in that group and they’ll be able to, based upon their wealth of knowledge or experience, they’ll be able to impart that upon me and I take it however I need to and run with it.
SM: So I know we have a lot of students taking virtual classes this year. How can someone join, benefit, participate in the Student Veterans Association of America when they are unable to be on campus due to COVID-19.
GO: Well, you’d email your representative first of all. You can go to https://studentveterans.org, find your local chapter, or email them yourselves. They are located at 1012 14th Street, Northwest Suite 1200 in Washington DC, the direct number to headquarters is (202) 223-4710. So if anybody doesn’t have a local chapter contact headquarters and I encourage you to ask your questions, get involved, and be a part of tomorrow’s leaders.
SM: That’s fantastic. So, the VA obviously runs a lot of programs for Veterans.
SM: Were there any programs that you learned about, or learned more about, since joining this internship program?
GO: Actually I did. And it was from the podcast guests themselves. Such as the Suicide Crisis Hotline app that I did not even know about until just recently – Operation Pop Smoke. We were unfortunate to have a couple soldiers when we got back from deployment become victims of suicide. I wish that app would have been there, because it would have helped out our squad leaders. It would have helped out our team leaders so much. It probably would… they probably would have been with us in the military. I’m just grateful that Sgt. Quinonez brought that into existence today so that not only veterans, but even active duty can download that app and have a support network for those dealing with insurmountable amounts of stress that comes with not only multiple deployments, but even just military life in general.
SM: So you found the internship. You’ve really enjoyed this so far. How did you decide on this, sort of, communications field?
GO: Well, actually I’m a natural writer. Writing has always been ingrained in my persona since middle school. I started out writing poetry and I started writing compositions and really getting into the classics like Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Edgar Allan Poe, Alexander Dumas, and it just went on from there. The more that I read, the more that I got inspired. Even to the point that I briefly had a soiree with drawing comic books. But my art was, I felt, never really stood up to the standards of my childhood ideals like Joe Quesada or, not only good writers, but they have master work with basically a pencil. It just put all my stuff to shame so I was like “I’m gonna stick with what I know.” In writing, to me, I create much better with detail and description. My verbal lexicon is far more expansive than my peers when I was in high school. I decided, I’m just going to keep being a writer, I feel that is my natural calling. At first I started out at Ohio State in Intercultural Communications, and when I came back from a study abroad program I took a break because I had to work full time, and then after 9/11 had happened my brother’s best friend had fallen in Afghanistan. A couple years later I had enough of it and I went and re-enlisted into the army. Soon, before I knew it, I was over there in the sandbox and doing my part. It wouldn’t be until after I had gotten out of the military that I wanted to continue writing, doing communications, and I had no clue it was going to lead me into the internship program like this. Now it’s just kind of come full circle. I had given my time, given my everything to the military, and now to come back around to give what I can back to highlighting their stories and giving back to them. It’s the best reward of all.
SO: That’s fantastic. So, what are you most excited about? You’ve recently been onboarded. You’ve worked on a couple episodes. What are you most excited about as you continue this internship?
GO: I’m excited to find out more stories about these veterans that keep stepping up to the plate and sharing their stories. More of these programs, these items that you would never hear about unless you heard it first hand. Like stories from Sgt. Quinonez, Tony Temerario set the framework for first responders programs that I never thought existed or knew about because I was in a totally different field down range. Coming back you don’t learn about everything that happened until you sit down and you hear stories like this one and you can say “Wow that’s where it comes from, that’s how it happens.” I’m a lot wiser now because of it, and I can’t wait to learn more moving forward from other veterans that are going to be on the show. I’m excited with each new podcast, each time that I get a chance to write and learn not only benefits me, but benefits the veterans in my area. Being in San Antonio there’s three military, three or four military bases here and a large veteran community. For me it’s really about exposing this information, and giving it back to them so that they also can benefit from the advice and wisdom that these veterans share on the podcast.
SM: So I, as a civilian, and also being young, didn’t know about a lot of these programs and things until I joined this program. From your perspective why is this work that you’re doing on this podcast, and the work that they’re doing at the VA, so important?
GO: Because it makes a difference in a veteran’s life. Even if most of them aren’t aware of the services, that they’re there, if there’s one, or a small group, that stops and says “Wow. That made a difference in my life. That changed me. It helped me to get better. It helped me to heal.” That’s what matters, because they have family. They have friends. People around them in their social network and community. You didn’t just help that veteran. You helped that extension of the veteran. So if you look at it that way, you are actually helping the community on a much larger scale. It’s like drops in the pond, drops of water in the pond.
GO: It’s a ripple effect, that’s the reward.
SM: And to think you applied for this program a couple hours before the deadline and are participating in helping and all of this work. What is your favorite thing about the internship so far?
GO: My favorite thing is the connections with, not only the veterans staff that work here (which are amazing by the way – a wealth of knowledge, wealth of backgrounds), but also the fellow veterans and interns that are here just giving their time, giving their all and doing wonderful things. Everybody that gives a part to this internship is being a part of success, and helping to be a part of changing the lives of veterans. For me the biggest part is making those social connections with all of those interns that comes across here and I meet and connect with. We have a meeting Mondays, and everybody shares their linkedin so we can expand our network. Those ties based on my experience in the military, at a collegiate level starting out and going forward, those can be bonds that last a lifetime. Those are things that you really want to establish early on. So I’m excited by that.
SM: It’s really special, especially in a time of COVID. You know, often the intern experience is that you’re in an office with your peers and learning from each other in that capacity. It’s been really cool to make connections this way, and still connect with people from all over the country and even farther than that in such a unique way and in such a unique time. What are your goals for this internship and then going forward?
GO: My goal is to basically cut my teeth here in the communications field and then learn about the business of getting a production like this going. The writing, the editing, the communicating with staff and having deadlines. One thing I learned in the military is to always make sure you are ahead of deadlines, you are way out in front that way you are never behind. And you never leave anybody behind. If anybody needs help you always should be available. And that is nothing short of what I’ve been doing. I tell my bosses if they need anything I am here, I am available, what can I do for you? And they’ve been behind me 100%, and I’ve been championing them 2000%, because they’ve been the backbone of this operation. They are the ones who make these wheels go. It is their support that makes everybody appreciate the work, and we all work for them. So that’s the bond.
SM: It is really special. It’s because of them that all the rest of us work so hard to support the work that they do day in and day out. After this internship is over, what do they do?
GO: Personally, I hope this leads to some form of communications, maybe hopefully at the VA if they find me a slot. If not hopefully I can branch out to somewhere else that could use a communications guy. Right now I’m kind of doing a few little volunteer projects in my hometown with the veterans community here, and I am always active in tapping into their outreach. I get emails from Texas State here that offer programs, or they give you newsletters about unaccompanied burials for veterans who don’t have any next of kin to bury them, and those types of activities that make you aware that this is about more than you. Veterans need to support each other, especially in life and in death. Being supportive in that fashion and that outreach, I would like to help out in that communications area and continue doing something like this because this is what I feel is my natural calling. Hopefully, no matter which way my professional journey takes me I am always going to land on my feet and I’m always going to look ahead
SM: What is your advice to either a veteran or an intern looking at this program?
GO: I would tell them to make the most of it. Make the most of the experience, make the most of the work and the learning as much about whatever program that you’re being a part of. Maybe even cross training a little bit to get a handle on what everyone does and how it plays a part into the larger role of things. Because later on in whatever you’re studying, whatever field it might take you, that kind of experience you’re going to bone up on and it not online applies to what you’re doing in the classroom but also outside in the professional work. They’re gonna say “Hey that guy knows what he’s doing. He worked for me for 9 months. That guy is locked on. He’s got the experience, he cut his teeth, he put in the time, and now that he is all the much better for it. Now that he has graduated he is ready.”
SM: Now as we wrap this up — this has been a fantastic conversation — tell me a fun fact about yourself!
GO: A fun fact? I like karaoke, I like to sing!
SM: What is your go to karaoke song?
GO: My go to karaoke song? There’s couple of them. I would say Under the Bridge by Red Hot Chili Peppers, or Sublime.
SM: Classics. Good choices. Thank you so much for joining us, this has been a great conversation. Check us out with our next guest in, it should drop next week. Thank you so much for learning about your fellow interns!