The Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University has announced the appointment of Shannon P. Meehan as media relations and communications specialist and the transition of current team member Katherine Frontino to the newly created role of admissions coordinator. Their appointments allow the institute to better serve stakeholders in the veteran and military families communities, in addition to supporting its steady growth.
Meehan, a veteran of the U.S. Army and 2011 graduate of SU’s Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV), reports to the director of media relations and communications and works with institute leadership to develop and execute writing projects on behalf of the IVMF, including op-eds, graduate profiles, thought pieces and other assignments. In addition, he speaks on behalf of the institute across the country and serves as a technical writing consultant, given his personal experiences in the military and as a veteran living with traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of injuries sustained in an IED strike while serving as a U.S. Army officer during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Meehan also serves as editor of the IVMF “Voices” blog, which represents an online forum for stakeholders to share information, express opinions and engage with the ongoing, public dialogue focused on issues and challenges facing veterans in America. He actively seeks out contributors to “blog with a purpose,” and works with the director of media relations and communications to ensure that contributions meet the blog’s editorial and topical guidelines, and that accepted contributions are timely, relevant and crafted to inform, inspire and stimulate dialogue and debate among community stakeholders.
Meehan resides in and is based out of the Philadelphia area. A graduate of the Virginia Military Institute, with distinction, he also studied at Oxford University. Now medically retired, Meehan served as a leader of a tank platoon for the Army’s 1st Cavalry Division. He is the recipient of the Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Army Commendation for Valor, among other honors, for his service in Iraq.
While serving in Iraq, Meehan led more than 700 combat and civil operations while commanding a large area of land inside Iraq’s Diyala Province, which includes the city of Baqubah. He initiated an innovative program of council meetings with local leaders that resulted in significant civil and economic growth and also developed and secured intelligence that led to the highest number of captured enemy insurgents and corrupt officials in his entire battalion. He also managed and oversaw large economic investments to improve infrastructures within his towns and cities, and he was rated his battalion’s top platoon leader.
After his injury, Meehan completed rehabilitation at Ft. Hood, Texas, and wrote the nationally acclaimed memoir “Beyond Duty: Life on the Frontline in Iraq” (Polity Press, 2009) with Roger Thompson, which chronicles his experiences in Iraq and the challenges facing soldiers in today’s wars. The memoir has become the fastest-selling book in the press’s history, is an international bestseller and was named Military Writers Society of America’s Book of the Month.
Meehan has traveled the country sharing his story, speaking at the U.S. Military Academy, SUand colleges and institutes across the nation, in addition to sharing his journey on CNN, NBC and other national media outlets, as well as serving as a regular op-ed contributor to the New York Times.
Frontino previously served as events coordinator for IVMF education programs Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE), open to female veterans and their spouses/partners from any branch or era of military service, and Operation Endure & Grow, an online training program for National Guard and Reserve members and their families. Frontino joined SU in 2010.
In her new role, she is responsible for recruitment, selection and enrollment of students for all four of the IVMF’s education programs, including V-WISE, Operation Endure & Grow, the EBV and EBV-Families. She is developing a concise, consistent and effective process for all applications for admission into the programs, in support of the IVMF, working closely with the director of education programs, as well as the institute’s information technology team to create a technical system through SalesForce that will store data and statistical information for quick and thorough effort reporting.
In addition, Frontino processes and coordinates all applications for admission (ensuring that applications are complete and meet proper criteria for admission), coordinates recruitment mailings and applicant notification letters, oversees student workers and the main program email accounts, supports prospective students on a wide range of admissions issues, contributes to marketing/recruitment strategies and promotional materials as needed, serves as a liaison between program managers and potential students and assists program coordinators and the media relations and communications team to develop strategies that will achieve program enrollment goals.
Prior to joining the University, Frontino resided in Washington, D.C., where she worked as a program coordinator in the conventions and meetings department at the Optical Society of America. There she was responsible for the overall production, coordination and creation of several annual meeting programs. Prior to OSA, Frontino worked as an editorial assistant at the American Geophysical Union, also in D.C.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Duquesne University.