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SXU Student Earns U.S. Army Challenge Coin and Places First in IWQ


Saint Xavier University (SXU) computer science student Jesus Jaime, an active reservist in the U.S. Army, has earned a challenge coin, a long-standing tradition and highly coveted honor in the military space. Not only was Jaime the only member of his unit to receive the honor, but he also received first place in the individual weapon qualification (IWQ) out of 1,500 participants.

"This recognition was challenging to obtain and I felt quite proud to earn it through my hard work. Challenge coins are traditional awards given to a soldier who goes above and beyond to show how well they have done in their careers – like achievement medals," said Jaime.

Jaime's achievements are made all the more prestigious when statistics are considered. According to the U.S. Army, on average, half of all soldiers will fail components of the IWQ, with current qualification tables being faster and tougher than previous standards.

"We are trained to adapt to highly stressful situations. With the IWQ training, we show how qualified we are with our weapons, practicing shooting at targets from 50 to 300 meters away. I passed as the highest shooter of 1,500 soldiers, even ones who are ranked higher than I am. It was especially challenging because the day of the qualification, we'd only had a few hours of sleep and had taken an army physical fitness test before shooting, so many of us were tired," said Jaime.

Jaime was motivated to join the U.S. Army because he admired that they protected those who cannot protect themselves. He was also intrigued by the benefits that could help him attend college. Jaime believes the Army has taught him a myriad of valuable lessons, from integrity and responsibility to perseverance and service. He also finds that his experiences have helped him to be grateful and appreciate what he has in life.

Before coming to SXU, he earned an associate degree from a community college. He decided to study computer science at SXU because of his hobbies – video games, video editing and photography. He enjoys that SXU is close to home and he really appreciates the small class sizes.

"I didn't want to go to a big university where the professors won't remember your name. After taking a tour and seeing how well the professors interact with students and how easy it seemed for students to talk with professors when they are struggling, I knew SXU was the right fit," said Jaime. "My classes are helping to connect me with others and prepare me for the real world. I appreciate high-impact learning opportunities and the real-life examples shared by my professors."

 Jaime also appreciates the many resources available to veteran students at SXU, including the Student Veteran Resource Center (SVRC), a place for veterans to relax, do homework, meet other veterans and ask questions about veteran benefits. He is grateful for Gricelda Gonzalez, veteran compliance advisor, who helped him apply for benefits when he came back from deployment. He found she made him feel welcome and helped to ease his stress.

Jaime plans to graduate with his bachelor's degree in 2023 and aims to complete additional certifications and internships that will help him advance in his career.