In the nine weeks since transferring to Bryant from the Community College of Rhode Island in fall 2017, Denny Cosmo had submitted a constitution to establish a chapter of Student Veterans of America on campus, joined the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO), attended Bryant Venture meetings, and written a business plan to enter a competition for a grant for the student organization he’s spearheading.
All this in addition to attending a full slate of classes.
His ability to manage his time with such discipline is no surprise. Prior to enrolling in college, Cosmo spent nine years in the Army. “I was in infantry school when the World Trade Center towers were hit on 9/11,” he says. “I was in the first wave of military deployed to Iraq in 2003 as part of the 82nd Airborne Division.”
In 2004, he graduated from U.S. Army Ranger School, heralded as the “toughest combat course in the world,” and re-classed to military intelligence in 2005. “I attended the Defense Language Institute for Arabic at the Presidio of Monterey, and went back to Iraq, this time with the 75th Ranger Regiment.”
The Defense Language Institute at the Presidio is the Department of Defense’s premier school for culturally based foreign languages – a way of learning that interests Cosmo to this day. “I’m fond of learning languages and other cultures in a way that breaks it down structurally,” he says. “That’s why my favorite class right now is Introduction to Linguistics, because that’s exactly how we’re approaching it.”
Cosmo’s military background and education helped cultivate his leadership skills, so much so that the Student Veterans of America (SVA) chose him to be one of 100 members to attend the SVA’s Leadership Institute, held in October in Dallas, TX. “We were completely immersed in hands-on learning of values-based leadership,” which he describes as “a set of core values or leadership principles that are genuine and authentic. It’s about individual relationship building, rapport building, building trust. It’s putting others’ best interests ahead of yours.”
To that end, Cosmo plans to establish a social enterprise business based in Rhode Island. A Changemaker Fellow with Social Enterprise Greenhouse in Providence in 2016-2017, he’s already gotten a head start.
Bryant is ranked No. 3 on the Best Colleges for Veterans (Regional Universities North) list by U.S. News & World Report in 2018. “I’m excited by all that I’m already learning at Bryant,” Cosmo notes. “I immediately felt at home and part of the community at Bryant. Each individual has to choose his or her own path, but if someone’s looking for opportunities and options, Bryant offers more than any college I’ve ever seen.”
- One of only 100 students around the country selected to attend Student Veterans of America's Leadership Institute Class of 2017 in Dallas
- Established a chapter of Student Veterans of America (SVA) on campus
- Member of the Bryant chapter of Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization
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