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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

Veteran Finds Home Near the Ocean - and at ODU

By Sherry DiBari

In the eighth grade, Natasha Dumm fell in love with the ocean during a trip to Tampa, Fla.

That led Dumm, who grew up in landlocked Lima, Ohio, to join the Navy after graduating from high school in 2005.

"I wanted to travel the world and be a part of something bigger than myself," she said.

It also eventually led her to Old Dominion University, where she will receive her bachelor's degree from the Strome College of Business in December.

Dumm spent 11 years in the Navy serving as an aviation ordnanceman, a high-risk position responsible for ammunition logistics and bomb and rocket building.

Dumm loved being stationed in Norfolk. "It provides a big-city feel, but with less traffic," she said. "You can get to any beach within 15 minutes."

Driving past ODU after long Navy workdays, Dumm would see students crossing the street.

"Going to ODU has been a goal since I arrived in 2006," she said.

"I never imagined it would come true. I love being at ODU."

As a first-generation student, Dumm is not only breaking barriers but creating a legacy for her children, Aniyah, 11, Mackenzie, 10 and Noah, 7. "It is something even my husband, Nicholas, can emulate," she said.

Dumm has also broken a family tradition. Her brothers Eric and Shane are graduates of Ohio State University.

At ODU, Dumm, like many student veterans, gravitated toward the the Military Connection Center (MCC).

"The MCC has been a beacon of light for me," she said. "They have provided me with so many tools and resources to achieve my goals."

In addition to a VA work-study position at the MCC, Dumm volunteers with PAVE (Peer Advisors for Veteran Education) and served as a public affairs officer for the ODU chapter of the Student Veterans of America.

"Being involved in these programs affords me an opportunity to connect with students who are just like me," Dumm said. "I can provide information on resources they may be eligible for on and off campus."

Dumm, who transferred to ODU from Tidewater Community College, majored in business analytics.

"Business analytics and supply chain management are both very dynamic and ever-changing fields that require you to think big and small, and also be able to communicate effectively," Dumm said.

Dumm's graduation may not be the end of her relationship with ODU.

"The maritime and supply chain management professors, Erika Marsillac, Yiu Cheng, David Cook and ManWo Ng in particular, are so knowledgeable and passionate in their field, that I am now considering returning for a graduate degree," Dumm said.

"I think I have found my passion."

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