by Claudia Bustamante

For six years, Joshua Borer saw first-hand the kind of care people in the military needed.

“Over my time as a medic, I would meet up with people who needed mental health and wouldn’t be able to get it,” said Borer, who spent six years in the Army Reserves. “It was partly because of stigma and partly because of long wait times.”

That experience influenced Borer’s career path.

Now, Borer is not only pursuing a Master of Social Work at the USC School of Social Work, but he is doing it as a second lieutenant with the U.S. Air Force.

Last month, Borer was commissioned into the Air Force officer ranks by Anthony Hassan, director of the Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans & Military Families and a retired Air Force major.

“It is both an honor and a privilege to commission one of our own military social work students into the U.S. Air Force,” Hassan said. “Another Trojan enters the Air Force social work ranks to Fight On!”

Borer, who received an Air Force scholarship to pursue his master’s, first approached Hassan because of their similar backgrounds. Hassan also started his military career in the Army before joining the Air Force, where he served on the first Air Force combat stress control and prevention team embedded within an Army unit during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

“I think it is important for people like me at the beginning of our military social work careers to have the support and advice of individuals like him, who are experienced in our field and who can understand the path we are about to take,” Borer said.

The first-year MSW student is pursuing a Mental Health concentration with a sub-concentration in Military Social Work and Veteran Services. Upon graduation, Borer plans to transfer his studies into a career as an Air Force social worker, focusing on pre-deployment mental health.

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