Columbia University | Latin American History
Marine Corps | MARSOC
My name is Hayden McGrath, and I am from a rural town outside Dallas, Texas. Shortly after graduating from High School, I left for the Marine Corps with almost no ambition of ever attending college. I spent my time on active duty traveling internationally, training, and assisting foreign military units. This experience rooted my passion for education. After nine years, I decided to explore my own educational opportunities; in 2019, I left active duty and matriculated at Columbia University as a full-time student. Without the help and close support of my peers and fellow veterans, I could have never imagined getting into a top 25 school. Once in attendance, I have realized the strong network of veterans that provide assistance, guidance, and, more importantly, a community to ease the transition from active duty. While the transition can be challenging, in my first year at Columbia, I quickly recognized that the traits developed during service not only help veterans succeed in the classroom but, by sharing their experiences, also expand the classroom dialogue and better shape perspectives of the world for other students. Once I learned about NSI and its mission to help veterans succeed after their service, I felt compelled to join and share any information I have. Aside from the classroom, I spend my time in New York surfing Rockaway Beach, Rock climbing in the Shawangunk Mountains, and exploring the endless opportunities in New York City.