Political science student and Oregon guardsman Angelina Trillo advocates for policy geared towards benefiting the military-connected community on campus and throughout the state.

By Ellie Webb-Bowen, CLA Student Writer - April 12, 2024

Angelina Trillo, a senior majoring in political science, always knew she was going to enlist and serve her country in some capacity.

After growing up  in Colorado and starting her college career at the University of Colorado Boulder, during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Trillo’s family relocated to Oregon where she followed and enlisted in the Oregon National Guard. Trillo then spent the next year learning how to be a trauma medic for her future company, 1-186th Infantry Battalion, by attending basic training at Fort Sill in Oklahoma followed by advanced individual training at Fort Sam Houston in Texas. 

Trillo relocated back to Corvallis in 2021 to enroll at OSU, while also still serving in the Oregon National Guard and using her EMT and 68W medic speciality to work part-time at a medical clinic.

"As a first-generation student, I had a very limited mindset as to what kind of careers were out there," Trillo described. “Those obstacles were part of what motivated me to enlist and develop my own path. Being a member of the military presents opportunities for those with unique backgrounds like myself and the possibility of a better life.”

Majoring in political science also allowed Trillo to lean into her aspirations of working in public health policy to create a better healthcare experience for veterans. Trillo enjoyed how the political science degree allows students to take a wide variety of classes to satisfy their individual interests, including one of Trillo’s favorite classes, Terrorism in Global Security (PS 482), taught by Michael Trevathan. After graduating this spring, Trillo hopes to attend graduate school and pursue a master's degree in public health policy administration. 

Trillo is passionate about supporting  others in the military-connected community at OSU, which hovers around 1,200 students on the Corvallis campus alone. During her first year at OSU, she became vice president and then president of the Student Veterans Association on campus, a chapter of the national nonprofit organization Student Veterans of America (SVA). While president, Trillo advocated for policies that support the military-connected students with health and community resources, as well as professional development opportunities. Some of Trillo’s accomplishments included creating women’s, LGBTQ, and veterans of color support groups, in addition to getting a full-time mental health counselor focused on serving veterans and the military-connected students on campus. 

"For many student veterans, transitioning from active duty to university life can be very challenging.,” said Trillo. “For me, I was on nine and a half months of active duty and then three days later, I was back and sitting in a classroom. It’s a complete mental shift and what I was trying to accomplish while at SVA was to ensure that the resources and support were available to students at any point in their military-to-student journey.” 

SVA recognized Trillo’s impact at OSU by awarding her Student Veteran of the Year at their national conference in Nashville, TN. 

“I was truly shocked,” exclaimed Trillo. “This is the highest honor a student-veteran can receive and the other finalists accomplished amazing things at their respective universities.” 

With this honor, Trillo now has the attention of local, state, and federal policymakers to enact veteran-friendly laws that benefit the military-connected community on campus. She hopes to improve Oregon Senate Bill 253 for next year’s legislative session, which would expand tuition benefits available to disabled veterans at Oregon universities, as well as for OSU to adopt Veteran’s Promise, a deferred enrollment plan for Oregon high schoolers who have committed to serving after graduating high school.

As for now, Trillo is anxiously deliberating where to attend graduate school programs while continuing to serve part-time for the Oregon National Guard.