Dog Tag, Inc. Fellowship Program Alumni
Class of 2015
Dog Tag Inc. fellows represent a sample of the talent and drive that exists in the veteran community. Success looks like the faces and stories below now gainfully employed in government, non-profit and corporate enterprises, or entrepreneurs launching their own endeavors!
Michael Ball graduated from the Dog Tag Inc. Fellowship Program in October 2015. He is originally from St Ignatius, Montana where he joined the Marines on his 18th birthday, a week after graduating high school. While serving in the Marines, Michael worked as a Korean linguist based at Kaneohe Bay Marine Corps Air Station in Hawaii. After his service in the Marines, Michael travelled to Korea to teach English for a year and a half. Returning to Hawaii, he joined the Army National Guard as a medic, serving in a field artillery unit and at Tripler Army Medical Center. In June of 2000 Michael returned to active duty in the Air Force where he served as a medic and flight medic in California, North Carolina, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Germany. Michael retired in November of 2013 after 24 years of service in three separate branches of the military.
Michael earned his Associates degree in Allied Health Sciences from the Community College of the Air Force, and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies from American Military University. He is currently enrolled full-time at the University of Maryland University College where he is pursuing a Master’s in Business Administration.
Michael is currently working with the veteran service organization Serving Together as a Director.
Senior Airman Sitney Bounpraseuth graduated from the Dog Tag Inc. Fellowship Program in October 2015. He enlisted in the Air Force shortly after graduating from high school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He went to Lackland Air Force Base, Texas for the Air Force Basic Military Training that lasted six weeks. He learned basic war skills, military discipline, physical fitness, drill and ceremonies, and Air Force core values.
After basic training he received orders to Fort Leonard wood, Missouri for six months of technical training for Engineering Apprentice in land surveying and architectural design. Upon graduating he received order to Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland with the 89th Civil Engineering Squadron.
As an Engineering Assistant, Senior Airman Bounpraseuth prepared as-built drawings, comprehensive plans, and blueprints using Computer Aided Design software. He also led a team in digitizing and cataloging over 80,000 sets of blueprints to reduce storage space.
In January 2003, Senior Airman Bounpraseuth deployed to Jordan to provide security for US military personnel. Then in June 2004, he forward deployed to Pakistan as a construction project manager where he planned, coordinate, budget, and supervise construction from development to completion. He also supervised a team of 13 security personnel for force protection of construction projects.
After six years of service, Senior Airman Bounpraseuth separated from the Air Force to continue his studies at Strayer University in Washington, DC. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in International Business and a Master of Business Administration.
Bettie Coleman, known as Nia, graduated from the Dog Tag Inc. Fellowship Program in October 2015. She is an Army veteran who served as a counterintelligence agent, later earning the additional skill identifiers of Linguist and Strategic Debriefer. After twelve years and three combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, Nia separated from the army with the rank of Sergeant First Class. Upon leaving the service, Nia continued to support the military in Afghanistan for a year as a civilian defense contractor.
While overseas, Nia accompanied several humanitarian missions that opened her eyes to the importance of providing aid and assistance to those in need. Nia has a strong passion for giving back and helping others, and continues to seek opportunities that allow her to do so. Nia currently volunteers as a Disaster Action Team responder for the Red Cross. She also served as a fellow for The Mission Continues, which led her to a position as an executive board member of The Next Chapter, Corp, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering survivors of domestic violence, survivors of sexual assault, and transitioning military veterans to advance to the next chapter in their lives.
Nia holds an Associate's Degree in Arts in Arabic, a Bachelor's Degree in Liberal Arts, and is in the process of completing a Master of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice at American Military University.
Seeking a career change from her intelligence background, Nia hopes to continue to find meaningful work and opportunities that help enhance the lives of others.
Sham Hasan graduated from the Dog Tag Inc. Fellowship Program in October 2015. He is an Iraqi Kurdish citizen who was born and raised in Baghdad, Iraq. He served as a linguist and cultural advisor with U.S Army and the U.S Government during Operation New Dawn in Iraq.
He came the U.S last year through a Special Immigrant Visa program for those who were employed by or on behalf of the U.S. government in Iraq, provided faithful services and have experienced or are experiencing an ongoing serious threat as a consequence of that employment.
He lived his first 4 months with an American family in South Bend, Indiana where He was first resettled, and then He moved to Washington, DC when Sergeant Brian Easley, who was deployed in Iraq extended his assistance to help him transitioning to Washington, DC.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in English language and literature from Iraq and worked with US Security Private Companies after U.S. forces withdrawal from Iraq. Before He arrives to the US, He worked with a Kurdish nonprofit organization in partnership with the United Nations to help resettle thousands of Syrian Kurdish displaced individuals and families in Kurdistan of Iraq .
As a new comer, Sham has started his first job in the United States with Dogtag Bakery as a Barista and customer service staff. He is still employed with Dogtag Bakery and looking forward to more educational opportunities to improve his business and personal skills.
He is strongly motivated to rise to new challenges and to learn and explore new concepts. He hopes to be the best employee possible for Dog Tag now, but also to learn more about management, finance, marketing and statistics to be a more valuable member of the American workforce.
Jeff Knudsen graduated from the Dog Tag Inc. Fellowship Program in October 2015. He retired after serving 22 years of service in the Army. During those years he performed numerous positions as an enlisted Field Artillery Soldier and officer. After earning the rank of Staff Sergeant, Jeff left the Army to seek a commission through the Green to Gold program at Eastern Washington University where he commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant, Field Artillery Officer. Jeff served for an additional eight years reaching the rank of Captain before retiring. During his tenure in the Army, Jeff served in numerous enlisted and officer positions. Jeff’s most notable jobs were Chief of Section for a Paladin Howitzer crew, Military Transition Team Operations Officer In (Iraq , Baghdad) and a Commander of a Field Artillery Battery.
Jeff’s civilian education includes a BA in History from Eastern Washington University and a Project Management Certificate from Georgetown University. Jeff’s military education consists of the Captains Career Course, Cyber information Systems Manager (Career field 53) at the US Army Cyber University, Ft Gordon, Georgia and Command and General Staff College.
John Lira graduated from the Dog Tag Inc. Fellowship Program in October 2015. He grew up in San Antonio, Texas and enlisted into the U.S. Marine Corps in 1998. During his enlistment, John served as a satellite communications operator in Okinawa, Japan and Camp Pendleton, California. In 2003, he was among the first combat forces to deploy to Kuwait and cross into Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. After leaving active duty, John joined the Marine reserves and in 2005 returned to Iraq for a second deployment as an intelligence analyst with 4th Reconnaissance Battalion. John’s career in the Marine Corps spanned eleven years before receiving an honorable discharge in 2010.
John has earned an associate’s degree in Paralegal Studies from San Antonio College and a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). While a student at UTSA, John was selected to two competitive fellowships—the Public Policy and International Affairs Fellowship at Princeton University and the Bill Archer Fellowship in Washington DC. The two fellowships inspired John to pursue career a graduate degree in public policy. In May 2015, John completed a Masters of Science degree in Public Policy and Management from the Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon University. John currently works as the Veterans and Military Families Fellow at the Corporation for National and Community Service plans to continue working on veterans and international affairs-related policy issues.
After graduating from the Dog Tag Fellowship Program John married his sweetheart and started working with the Small Business Administration.
Erik Nounimi graduated from the Dog Tag Inc. Fellowship Program in October 2015. He served as an Arabic linguist and cultural advisor to U.S Army combat and special operations units. He served in Operation Iraq Freedom for over 6 years (2003-2009), working with 1st Cavalry, 3rd Infantry, 101st Airborne, and the 1st Infantry Division. He served with infantry, armor, cavalry, military police, and psychological operations units. He translated for General Ray Odierno (Chief of Staff of the Army), General John Campbell (former Commander US Forces- Afghanistan), and Lieutenant General Vincent Brooks (Commander, U.S. Pacific Command). Erik also served as cultural advisor to several documentaries on the war in Iraq and multiple news agencies, including The New York Times, U.S. News and World Report, USA Today, and Il Giorniale (Milan, Italy). Erik holds an Associate of Science degree, achieving highest honors and an academic achievement award. Erik lived in Manhattan, Kansas for the last 5 years serving in an aircraft electronic components company as executive assistant to the CEO and later, manufacture production manager. He recently moved to the national capital region to participate in the DogTag Bakery veterans program. He intends to couple his experiences in the service as a cultural advisor with his business education to serve in the public sector.
Eduardo “Lalo” Panyagua graduated from the Dog Tag Inc. Fellowship Program in October 2015. He is originally from Los Angeles, California. At 17 years old he enlisted in the United States Marine Corp and served 7 years before being medically retired in 2013. During his service Lalo was attached to 3rd Battalion 10th Marines, with whom he deployed oversees to Iraq and Afghanistan. During this time Lalo was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement medal for his actions as a platoon sergeant.
Since his time in the service Lalo has devoted his time to personal and professional development. Two-weeks after his retirement ceremony, Lalo was already attending community college classes to help him prepare for his next step. He soon became the president of the Veteran Student Association and helped connect student-veterans to resources on campus and beyond. Last summer, Lalo participated in the Warrior Scholar Project at Yale University, an intensive program to help veterans transitioning to college reach their full potential in the classroom and become leaders on campus. On his spare time Lalo has been working with Professor Nancy Sherman to bring awareness to veterans suffering with PTSD and provided his narrative for her new book, “Afterwar: Healing the Moral Wounds of Our Soldiers”.
Ximena Rozo graduated from the Dog Tag Inc. Fellowship Program in October 2015. She is an industrial and textile designer with demonstrated success designing and developing products, solutions, and experiences in a wide range of environments. Ximena’s work spans a broad spectrum, from designing interior details of the Boeing 787 passenger cabin to teaching a Design, Strategy, and Innovation course in a Master’s program, to the development of a sustainable enterprise for the advancement of the handicraft sector in Bogota, Colombia. She has experience in R&D with 15 US patents in aircraft design and numerous design awards. As the founder of Ximena Rozo Design, a studio focused on Product Design, Research and Strategy, she centers her attention on product development, where textiles become objects and handicrafts evolve into contemporary artifacts. Her home décor and furnishings emphasize color vibrancy, rich tactile qualities, and functionality in unconventional forms. As a brand strategist she works with clients to help them evolve their brand through design.
As a military spouse she is working on establishing her design studio as a mobile platform for creativity and social development. Her husband’s career as a Latin American specialist for the U.S. Army has resulted in many assignments at home and abroad that enrich her life. It is this constant adjustment to novel situations that inspires her to be creative and to design easy-to-pack, easy-to-transport products for movement, rolling, interlacing, collapsing, or folding. The emphasis is on products as vessels for emotional connections, in order to effect permanence rather than disposability.
Ximena Rozo received a Bachelor of Arts in Textile Design (1996) from Universidad de Los Andes, Bogota, Colombia. In 2002 she was earned a Masters of Industrial Design (2002) from Pratt Institute, New York, NY. Subsequently, in 2007, Ximena completed a Certificate Program in Design Firm Leadership and Management from the University Of Washington, Seattle, WA. Her work has been featured in several design magazines. In August 2013, she authored the article "New movements that rebel against homogeneity" in Proyecto Diseño Magazine, Colombia. Her designs have been showcased in the U.S., Colombia, Japan, Italy, the Netherlands, and Colombia. She has work experience in Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala, and the U.S.
Please visit her website to see some of her work and accomplishments:
And follow this link to share her dream, “What if”:
Josh Tredinnick graduated from the Dog Tag Inc. Fellowship Program in October 2015. He resides in Virginia with his wife and three boys. Josh served in the U.S. Army in the Infantry with the 10th Mountain Division. He medically retired from the military in 2012 as a SGT (E-5).
Josh graduated from George Mason University in 2013 with a B.S. in Criminology, Law and Society with a concentration in Homeland Security. After completing his education he worked as a veteran recruiter with a defense contractor in their Veteran Support office. This job provided experience in recruiting, analytics, and providing services to transitioning military and currently employed service members and veterans.
Josh hopes to gain knowledge about starting his own business through this experience as a Dog Tag Fellow. He plans to open a bakery/café of his own in the future.