Student Profile - Levi Smith

Levi Smith: From Corps to Classroom

Levi SmithAs a U.S. Marine, Lamar University senior Levi Smith knows about mission.

With his move from the Corps to the classroom, the mission has changed, but the dedication and determination are the same.  After serving in the USMC from 2009 to 2014, the 25-year-old general studies major is disciplined and ready for the academic setting.

Each morning starts with a hearty breakfast of coffee, eggs, bacon and hash browns.

Smith Grew up in Hallsville, a small town nestled halfway between Longview and Marshall in East Texas, where he went to school from fourth grade until his junior year of high school. He then spent one semester in McKinney, before returning Hallsville to graduate high school.

Right after graduation, Smith enlisted in the USMC, becoming an avionics technician, helping maintain military aircraft.

“I was more of an electrician but I also did mechanic work,” he said. “The majority of my tasks were moving components and replacing them with others, troubleshooting the electrical system. Anything that had a screen, light bulb, or software fell under my part.”

Smith’s interest in aviation came early. “I have liked airplanes ever since I was a young boy. I always wanted to become a pilot when I grew up.”

Smith was based in New River, North Carolina throughout his military career. While working on airplanes in the Marine Corps, Smith acquired a new skill set and work ethic. “My early training was a combination of military science, military tactics and martial arts. Then in my specialized occupation school, I learned about troubleshooting and electrical theory.”

After separating from the Corps, he took his new skills and entered the civilian workforce. “I stayed on as a contractor with two separate companies. I was still doing the same thing — fixing airplanes and doing mechanical work as an electrician.”

While in the Corps, he met and married his wife, Shaneigh, in 2011. In 2015, she graduated from college in North Carolina, and the couple moved to Beaumont.

“I was inspired by my wife to continue my education and do great things,” he said. “Lamar was my first choice. I earned 119 credits through my military training and experience.”

Smith speaks how being in the Marines has made his college experience easier.

 “I think being in the Marines has made it easier for me in regards to being a student again. I have a good work ethic; it is less work than I am normally used to. I don’t have to deal with a lot of work stress. It is pretty relaxing here. I am very good at managing my time which is highly required as a college student.”

Smith also recognizes some unique challenges about being a college student after the military service.

“Being out of high school for a long time — unlike most of my peers around me — I had to catch up with a lot of math and the course work, especially since I am pursing a degree that requires me to take a lot of math courses.”

Smith envisions success in his future.

“I would like to graduate with an mechanical or electrical engineering degree, and then use that degree to work for Boeing or Lockheed Martin, manufacturing companies that make the majority of the commercial aircraft in the U.S. “

A recipient of the post 9-11 G.I. Bill that covers his all of his tuition and books, Smith is the treasurer of the Lamar Veterans Organization. In his spare time, he likes to play the drums at his church, go fishing and lift weights.

Smith is grateful for the support Lamar University faculty and staff have shown him.  “I love the campus life and environment. I am very impressed about the professors here. They are always willing to lend a helping hand when you need it.”

“My parents raised me right. I was disciplined and encouraged to go in the right direction. I was exposed to a great amount of love and support which helped shape into me into the man I am today.”

The Lamar Veterans Organization is the local chapter of the Student Veterans of America. The 23rd Cardinal Command is open to veterans and dependents.  The Student Veterans of America mission is to provide military veterans with the resources, support, and advocacy needed to succeed in higher education and following graduation.