UB graduate student wins award for leadership in veterans community

Photo of UB student Justin Downey speaking at a UB veterans services ceremony in November 2019.

UB student Justin Downey speaks at a Veterans Day ceremony held on campus in November 2019. Photo: Douglas Levere

Release Date: November 10, 2020

Print
“Justin is a truly outstanding student leader. He has been a tireless advocate for his fellow veteran students, and he has become an indispensable leader for many of our programs in Veteran Services. He is singularly worthy of recognition. ”
Daniel Ryan, Veteran Services director
University at Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. – University at Buffalo graduate student Justin Downey (BS ’20) has been named a winner of the 2020 Student Veteran Leadership Awards.

This inaugural list honors 48 student-veterans who are making a positive impact at their schools and in their communities. It was published in the August issue of G.I. Jobs magazine, a national publication that has been connecting service members, veterans and their families to civilian career, education and business ownership opportunities since 2001.

In addition, Downey has been named to State University of New York’s Student Voices Action Committee. This group is composed of 27 students representing every SUNY sector — from university centers to comprehensive, technical and community colleges.

The group’s purpose is to amplify the collective student voice and expand students’ representation and influence in key discussions and decisions that impact their lives. SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras announced the creation of this committee last month.

Downey served in the United States Navy from 2014 to 2017, and reached the rank of E-4 as a Petty Officer Third Class. He worked as a Cryptologic Technician Interpretive, serving as an expert in Spanish linguistics and deciphering information in other languages.

His responsibilities included collecting, analyzing and exploiting foreign language communications of interest; transcribing, translating and interpreting foreign language materials; and providing cultural and regional guidance in support of Navy, Joint Force, national and multinational needs.

He obtained a bachelor’s  in business administration with a concentration in international business from UB in spring 2020.

Downey is currently pursuing a master’s  in higher education and student affairs.

He works as a student assistant in  UB’s Veteran Services Office. He also serves as a team leader of Peer Advisors for Veteran Education (PAVE) Program; a liaison for Veterans Disability Service; president of Student Veterans Association; and secretary of Veterans Business Association. He is a native of Amherst, N.Y.

Downey said he was honored to be nominated for both honors by Veteran Services Director Daniel Ryan, and to be “an active voice for veterans in the SUNY community.”

“Justin is a truly outstanding student leader,” Ryan said. “He has been a tireless advocate for his fellow veteran students, and he has become an indispensable leader for many of our programs in Veteran Services. He is singularly worthy of recognition.”

Media Contact Information

Barbara Branning no longer works for University Communications. To contact UB's media relations staff, call 716-645-6969 or visit our list of current university media contacts. Sorry for the inconvenience.