On the morning of September 11, 2001, America was changed forever.
The sound of the twin towers falling could be heard all around the country, and even in the small town of West Burke, Vt., where young Aaron Trudeau lived. Trudeau who was only 10 years old at the time, but still remembers watching the horror of 9/11 play out on television at school and seeing his teacher crying as if a relative had died. It was all a bit confusing to him then, but as he grew, a spark developed inside him to join the military and fight for his country.
During his high school days, Trudeau was a non-traditional student who felt his voice was being silenced. A fury developed within that many teenagers feel in adolescence. He wanted purpose, but was looking for it in all the wrong places. He needed to channel his anger into an outlet, but he realized that if he continued down the same path as some of his friends, he would end up living a fruitless life.
He wanted more. He wanted to provide a better life for himself and for his family. He found his purpose in the military.
Trudeau joined the Marines in 2010, because he wanted to be considered, “the best of the best” and have that recognition for his achievements, which he had never had before.
“The other parts of the military are good, but the Marines are the best,” Trudeau said jokingly. Even in one of his study groups, consisting of other former military, the ribbing between the branches continues.
He was stationed at Marine Corps Base: Camp Pendleton in Southern California. He completed a tour in Afghanistan in 2012, and then went on to Japan in 2014.
“After four years in the Marines, I found structure and direction,” Trudeau said. “My relationship strengthened between me and my wife. The time apart made us appreciate each other more.”
Trudeau said his wife, who is his longtime high school sweetheart, said it made him a better person. In August 2014, he returned home and began taking classes at a community college in Massachusetts. It was there he discovered a love for science, specifically medicine. He also realized that he wanted to continue his career with the military, but in a different way.
Trudeau decided to apply to UNH Manchester's Biotechnology program. Within the program, he is pursuing pre-dental studies to help him prepare for dental school. He said he chose UNH Manchester because of its smaller class sizes and the teacher to student ratio.
“Everyone is so friendly here," Trudeau said. "I like the smaller community atmosphere."
Trudeau is currently involved in a research project in conjunction with the Psychology Department to study a link between Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and brain trauma caused during active duty. He is very passionate about the study, which he hopes will be completed within the next two years.
Now residing in Jaffrey, N.H., Trudeau drives an hour to and from campus everyday. He said he went from having below average grades and hating science class in high school to working on a prestigious biological study here at UNH Manchester. He values the opportunity the military afforded him to have a career and live a successful life. He plans to graduate in 2018, and go on to work as a dentist in the Army.
Written by Brittany Gaston, Sign Language Interpretation major