Community change doesn’t happen in silos.

Relationships, partnerships, and collaborations are the catalysts for creating lasting, impactful change in the lives of military Veterans and their families. Created by Dr. Jeni Hunniecutt, an Army National Guard Veteran, Veteran studies scholar, and Veteran advocate, VetREC has a vision of seamlessly merging research and practice in ways that help Veterans heal.

Meet Jeni, VetREC Creator & Director

Jeni honorably served as an enlisted soldier in the Virginia Army National Guard for six years. During her time in service she earned both her B.A. and M.A. in communication. Shortly after separating from the military, she moved to Denver, Colorado, where she earned a Ph.D. in Communication Studies, specializing in the new emerging academic discipline of Veteran Studies. During her time in Denver, she became active in the local Veteran Service Organization community and served as Outreach Specialist for the Sturm Specialty in Military Psychology at the University of Denver.

In 2018, she moved to Champaign, Illinois and served as a Visiting Research Specialist at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s (UIUC) Chez Veterans Center. Jeni spent four years at UIUC serving as the Chez Veteran Center’s Assistant Director of Research Engagement & Educational Programming and Research Assistant Professor. During her time at UIUC she built an infrastructure for facilitating transdisciplinary Veteran-Centric research across campus, designed and taught courses related to Veteran community health, and organized community-engaged events that sparked new research initiatives across campus and across the country. Jeni still holds an affiliate faculty position with UIUC today.

Toward the end of 2021, Jeni resigned from her full-time role in academia and after taking time to write and publish her book, Rethinking Reintegration and Veteran Identity: A New Consciousness (Palgrave Macmillan, 2022), she joined the Ronin Institute as an independent Research Scholar. At the end of 2022, Jeni created VetREC, where she now serves as the Owner and Director. Driven by her motto of “research with, not on, Veterans,” Jeni’s vision for VetREC is to merge research + practice in ways that help Veterans heal. Through VetREC, she serves Veteran Services Organizations and research institutions, offering research and education services.

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