Laura Marko is always up for a challenge.
“I rarely take the easy way in life, and I’ve never been bored with my life,” Laura said. “My Navy recruiter gave me the best advice before I boarded the plane for boot camp, and that was to always volunteer for the toughest jobs and to never hesitate when taking them on. That’s how leaders are made, and that’s how you make a difference.”
During her time in the military, Laura worked as both a photographer and communications specialist in the United States Navy. She also served as a direct supervisor for both junior sailors and Marines.
“After five years in the military that included one deployment, four promotions and years spent out at sea, I decided it was time to leave the Navy and begin a new challenge, college.” Laura said.
At University of Michigan-Dearborn, Laura has been involved with the Association of Women Veterans, Association of Non-Traditional Students, American Association of University Women and Voice for Choice.
“When I transitioned to a civilian, my leadership skills came with me,” she said. “I’m always willing and anxious to take on leadership roles, volunteer in my community and help make my campus community a better place. I don’t wait to be told to do a task. If I see something that needs to be done, I take the initiative to do it myself. That’s the kind of leader I am.”
Those leadership skills were on full display as Laura worked to build a network for veteran students on campus. She partnered with organizations and individuals both on and off campus to help provide resources for veterans, advocate on their behalf and ease the transition to civilian and student life.
Laura also is active in her community off campus, serving in an elected officer position at VFW Post 78 in Dearborn Heights, volunteering for the City of Dearborn’s planning committee for the annual Memorial Day Parade and joining numerous veterans organizations including the American Legion and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.
“When I think about someone who deserves the title difference maker, Laura Marko is one of the few individuals that comes to mind,” said Will Emerson, veteran coordinator in the Veteran Affairs Office. “Laura has enriched the experiences of our student veterans on and off the campus community. There are not nearly enough words for me to describe the true difference Laura makes in the lives of those she works with. She is, simply put, a difference maker.”