Dog Tag Inc. Fellowship Program Alumni
Winter Class of 2018
Dog Tag Inc. Alumni represent a sample of the talent and drive that exists in the veteran community. Our alumni are now gainfully employed in government, non-profit, and corporate enterprises; have returned to school; or are entrepreneurs launching their own endeavors.
Originally from Saskatchewan, Canada, Mindy Boulanger has experience in hospitality, customer service, and beautician fields. After graduating with an office education certificate at Woodland SIAST, she spent time working in a law office. Mindy became a permanent US resident after she married her husband José, an Army specialist, and became his caregiver. While transitioning out of the military, their son Antonio was born. Together as a family, they put all their belongings into storage and went on a two-month road trip through Canada and the US.
Mindy is excited to learn what it takes to become an entrepreneur through her time in the Dog Tag Fellowship. Mindy dreams of one day opening her own ADA-compliant bed and breakfast. She is ready to make the necessary steps to achieve that dream, and looks forward to making it a reality. She is gluten-free, but loves brownies.
Kimberly DeFiori was born in Louisiana and raised in Texas. She received her undergraduate degree in Psychology from the United States Military Academy, and a Masters of Arts from Webster University in Business and Organizational Security Management.
Kim served in the Army for nine years in the Military Police Corps and obtained the rank of Captain. She held positions ranging from Platoon Leader to Aide-de-Camp for the Provost Marshal General. In 2011, Kim deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. She led several missions, one of which was highlighted in the book Warrior Police.
After many years of trying to manage her PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury effects, Kim is focusing on improving herself physically and mentally to find strength in her past traumas. Kim was recently paired with her service dog Thor from This Able Veteran.
Kim hopes to start her own nonprofit organization in the next five years to help veterans who suffer from PTSD and female veterans with sexual trauma. She hopes Dog Tag Inc. will help her change careers and gain knowledge about veteran outreach programs. Kim’s favorite baked good is brownies with chocolate frosting and colored sprinkles––because if you are going to bake something, why not add sprinkles?
Alice Witte Duehring
Alice is a Navy spouse and mother of two who spent most of her childhood in San Francisco, California. She completed her B.A. in Art History from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) while raising her daughter Cooper as a single parent, thanks to the support of her mother and friends. She met her husband, Jeremy, a naval officer, while managing an art gallery in Charleston, SC, and quickly adapted to the traveling life of the Navy.
Alice has spent the past decade as a dedicated mother and volunteer. She was one of a few spouses to support the Navy’s Setting Sail Program, working with other seasoned spouses to mentor new spouses about life in the Navy, and help them better understand what it means to be a military family.
Now that her kids are older, she is ready to pursue her passion for cake decorating and design by opening up her own cake shop. Alice hopes the Dog Tag Fellowship will allow her to better understand what is required to own and run a successful business. As much as Alice loves decorating cakes, she prefers eating pie! Lemon Meringue is her favorite.
Originally from Springport, Michigan, Jacquelyn attended the Premier Medical Academy in Jackson, Michigan where she earned her Certified Nurses Aid license. Currently, she is working towards a Bachelors in Culinary Science at the Art Institute of Washington, DC. She served in the US Navy for four years as an aviation electronics technician, where she troubleshooted and repaired electronics systems on the MH-53E helicopter. During her service, she deployed to Manama, Bahrain for 6 months where she carried out Airborne Mine Countermeasures.
Jacquelyn has always loved to cook; her passion for baking started at the young age of seven, and throughout all of her careers she has always baked and decorated cakes out of her home. She aspires to open her own bakery one day, and hopes to gain a better understanding of what it takes to become a successful business owner through the Dog Tag Fellowship.
Her favorite baked good is tiramisu, as she loves the bitterness of the espresso-soaked ladyfingers, the sweet creamy filling, and the cocoa dusting that brings it all together in sweet, scrumptious harmony.
A South Carolina native, Dana played basketball for Walters State Community College and later transferred to Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) where she graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Public Health.
After two years of working jobs with limited growth potential, Dana enlisted in the Army as an Automated Logistics Specialist in February 2012. While stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas, she conducted warehouse operations, including inventory management and security, disposal of hazardous materials, and training on storage-related activities. She also attended a non-commissioned officer development school and graduated in the top 20% of her class. After four years at Fort Bliss, she received orders to Okinawa, Japan where she was responsible for satellite communications equipment. After one year, she transferred to Fort Belvoir, Virginia, where she attended Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s Business Basics course.
Dana is on track to obtain a Master’s in Logistics and Supply Chain Management at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. She plans to apply the skills learned during her Dog Tag Fellowship, in combination with her love for helping individuals, to start a global logistics company that trains and employs underserved populations. Some of her favorite desserts are her mother’s peanut butter cookies and red velvet cake.
A native of Brewton, Alabama, Mika entered the military upon graduation from high school. She worked in the Air Force’s first CV-22 (Osprey) unit as it transitioned from a test organization to a functional air operational unit. She was involved in creating aviation management tools used in the United States and foreign countries for all other V-22 organizations that followed. She also spent time in the military teaching leadership for Air University, and has experience in organizational growth, organizational improvement, and change management.
After serving as a military instructor and seeing first-hand the challenges women face during their military career, Mika found her passion for calling attention to these issues and working to help women overcome them. She is starting her own business, Female Defender, to assist navigating women in uniform to success. She is extremely excited for the opportunity to engage in the experiential opportunity that the Dog Tag Fellowship program provides. Mika likes reading non-fiction, writing poetry, and loves traveling internationally. Her favorite baked good is carrot cake.
Stephen is an Air Force veteran from San Antonio, TX who holds an Associate’s degree in Cyber Security from Northern Virginia Community College. Stephen enlisted in the USAF in 2006 as a Security Forces Military Police Officer and was stationed at NORAD in Colorado Springs, CO. Stephen’s training as a military police officer was critical during his second deployment to Iraq, where he volunteered to be a member of the USAF Police Transition Team tasked with recruiting and training the local police force in Baghdad.
Prior to joining the Dog Tag Fellowship, he served as an intern to the USAF Surgeon General and most recently was the Social Media Manager for an international police organization, where he used various social media platforms to broadcast organization initiatives and highlight significant milestones.
His tenure as a social media manager ignited his interest in government contracting. He hopes to start a government contracting company that utilizes federal benefits to help service-disabled veteran-owned businesses become competitive in the federal marketplace. Stephen plans to gain the tools to build and sustain a successful business through the Dog Tag Fellowship. His favorite pastry is a freshly-baked, oven hot, buttery croissant.
A native of Alexandria, Virginia, William Long is a Marine Corps Infantry Combat Veteran. Shortly after graduating high school, William enlisted in the Marines. There, he gained five years of experience in intensive and dynamic leadership and management in the most austere environments. As team leader, his team placed first in a grueling company-wide inspection and evaluation of competency, leadership, and performance on demand. He also trained, inspected, and supervised hundreds of future officers and enlisted Marine squad members in all aspects of leadership, while serving a dual-role as safety manager. He completed his military service as a tactics instructor, training college graduates to become future Marine Corps Officers. During his time in the Marines, William also traveled extensively during his deployments to Afghanistan, Japan, Korea, Jordan, and various European countries.
After transitioning from his military service, William hopes to utilize the tools and basic fundamentals of business that Dog Tag Inc. provides as a jumpstart into a successful career in business. His favorite baked good is homemade pecan pie.
Alisha Mason is a military brat, but claims South Carolina as her home. She currently resides in North Carolina with her boyfriend of four years and her awesome German Shepherd, Tina, who is a retired Air Force Military Working Dog. Alisha attended the University of South Carolina (the real USC!), graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice in 2005, and commissioned into the Air Force through ROTC.
After serving 11.5 years on active duty as a Security Forces officer, she transitioned to the Air Force Reserve where she still serves as an Individual Mobilization Augmentee. While in the military, she learned the many facets of successful and not-so-successful leadership, which is the cornerstone of her core today. Alisha traveled around the US and the world, including two remote short tours to Korea and Turkey, completed several training and temporary duty opportunities in Europe, and deployed to Afghanistan.
Alisha is passionate about healthy living, incorporating a whole-foods, plant-based diet in her life as well as being an avid yogi and practicing mindfulness. When Alisha learned of Dog Tag over a year ago, she knew she had to be involved with the program because of their mission to help veterans transition to the civilian workforce and also their dedication to ensure the whole-person concept is included in that transition. She is most excited about gaining a new perspective of veteran-owned businesses and the networking opportunities Dog Tag provides.
Perhaps most importantly, her favorite baked good is fresh rosemary sourdough bread.
Marit was raised in Eau Claire, Wisconsin and received her B.S. in Nursing from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. A member of ROTC in college, Marit commissioned in the Army upon graduation and came to the DC area as an Army nurse at Walter Reed.
After years of serving our nation’s heroes, Marit transitioned to the role of patient. As she builds a whole new plan for herself, she is excited about the Dog Tag Fellowship, and hopes the program will help her clarify her future. Marit is transitioning out of healthcare and is pursuing additional education in software engineering.
Marit plans to jumpstart her life after Dog Tag in New York City and is actively looking for how she will continue to serve others and her community. The business skills Dog Tag will impart on her will fit seamlessly into this transition and give her a leg up in her eventual civilian career. Marit’s favorite baked good is anything with lemon, especially a muffin.
Raised in California, Donna Vojvodich is a Coast Guard spouse. Educated at California State University, Sacramento and Hastings College of Law, she was serving as a Deputy District Attorney in Humboldt County when she met a crew member of the USCGC Sapelo at a Toastmasters meeting. This meeting led to marriage, a move to Virginia, and an introduction to Coast Guard life. She cherished the opportunities afforded by permanent change of station moves to experience the wildness of life on an Alaskan island, the balmy weather in southern Florida, and the many wonders of living at a Long Island Sound lighthouse.
She is currently a Coast Guard Arlington Lady, volunteering to attend funeral services at Arlington National Cemetery to ensure that no Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Coast Guardsman is buried alone. After 21 years of raising children and driving hundreds of thousands of miles to actively support them in their interests, Donna is contemplating the next stage of her life. Since she has always wanted to start her own business, Dog Tag offered the perfect opportunity to obtain the education and practical experience needed for success. She would like to distribute or manufacture bread products free from corn, gluten, and soy.
Donna loves sourdough bread - there’s something about the tangy taste that pairs well with just about everything.