The Chloe Hernandez Journey
The eight moves Chloe Hernandez experienced as a military kid meant that she was always the “new kid.” However, her response is what put her on the path to leadership as it propelled her into the role of an extrovert who enjoyed talking to all different types of people. It also made her empathetic about the challenges facing other kids coming into a new school.
“It’s important to find your people. Having friends that are military kids means they know what you’re going through without you having to say it. They have a shared understanding and expectations for military life,” Chloe said.
Now a junior at West Virginia University (WVU), Chloe is double majoring in neuroscience and psychology. As she spoke to us about her experiences as a military kid, she also described the ways in which that lifestyle prepared her for current opportunities including breaking barriers as the first Hispanic woman elected as the WVU Student Government Association (SGA) President.
As an example of that preparation, Chloe was able to see possibilities despite missing friends she had to leave behind when her family moved from North Dakota to Northern Virginia during her freshman year of high school. “I found Northern Virginia to be more supportive, and more of my peers were connected to the military. There’s strength in numbers when you’re a young teenager and you can find people going through the same things,” she said. To give back to the community that made her feel so welcome, Chloe set up a club for military-connected kids at her high school to provide a social group to welcome and support new arrivals.
Obviously, Chloe’s organizing activities didn’t stop once she got to college. “I never pictured myself running for SGA President, but I found it to be a way for me to advocate for issues that I’m passionate about,” she said. During her campaign, one of Chloe’s main issues was increasing access to mental health resources. Now that she is president, her goals include reducing the stigma associated with seeking mental health treatment and participating in a Mental Health Town Hall. She sees the presidency as a way to show WVU students that they are not alone in dealing with these issues, and that listening to the voices of the 26,000 Mountaineer students is the most effective way to make the system work better.
As she reflects on her experiences growing up as a military kid, Chloe appreciates the fact that the challenges she faced helped mold her into the groundbreaker she is today and prepared her for this leadership role at WVU. And now she envisions a potential future in the military for herself. Her next goal is to pursue medical school and serve in the Air Force as flight surgeon. Whatever path she chooses, Chloe will always have a passion for community, communication, and connection, bringing people together.
Click here to support other MilKids so they can SHINE like Chloe!