by Karen Phillips


Tavia Brightwell, 26, decided to join the Marine Corps Marching Band in 2006. Although her mother was against her decision to join, Tavia knew it was the right thing to do at that time in her life. “Iraq was different,” she said. “More than anything, it was an eye-opener.” She traveled to Haiti for humanitarian relief efforts after the earthquake hit. “Seeing the destruction and devastation was heartbreaking,” she said. But she also got to hike through the city of Petra and tour Dubai — two of the coolest cities she’s ever seen. After she was out, Tavia missed her life in the military so much that she decided to join the Reserves. She is now a Seargent with the 4th Supply Company in Raleigh. Tavia loves the atmosphere and diversity of UNCG and is currently majoring in English education, hoping to earn a second degree in physical education so she can run a “mini bootcamp style” gym class. In the near future, she hopes to take a coast-to-coast road trip and complete her third full-marathon. Tavia admits it’s been difficult re-acclimating into civilian life, and her biggest pet peeve is when people ask the question, “How many people did you kill?”