Military science speaker to share Baghdad story

Melissa Stockwell, the keynote speaker for Illinois State’s Science and Technology Week, will share her inspirational story From Baghdad to Beijing and Beyond.

The event starts at 7 p.m. on April 1 in the Prairie Room of the Bone Student Center and is free and open to the public. It is part of many events hosted this week by the College of Applied Science and Technology, including the Neon at Night 5k Fun Run and the Apparel Merchandising and Design Fashion Show. Stockwell will also be participating in the 5k on April 2.

Stockwell is part of the Spring 2014 Speaker Series, an initiative at ISU that aims to bring innovative and enlightening speakers to the campus. The goal is to create ideas and continue an appreciation of learning.

She is among several notable speakers that have made appearances since February, including Shaun R. Harper, Karen Lewis, Michael Feldmen and Patti Hart.

Stockwell was chosen for both her encouraging story and her military background. Each year the College of Applied Science and Technology chooses to focus on a different area of its eight departments. This year, they are focusing on Military Science and Kinesiology and Recreation as it relates to Stockwell’s past.

“With Melissa’s military background and interest in triathlons, she was a natural fit for Science and Technology Week,” Kara Pool Snyder, assistant to the dean, said.

Stockwell is a member and veteran of the 2010 USA Paratriathlon National Team where she has competed around the world, all with one prosthetic leg.

In 2005, when Stockwell was serving in the U.S. Army as a first lieutenant in Iraq, her HUMVEE traveled over a roadside bomb. She lost her leg from above the knee, becoming the first female to lose a limb in active combat. She medically retired with a Purple Heart and bronze star.

She went on to recuperate at Walter Reed Army Medical Center where she became interested in the Paralympics. She was asked to try out for the swim team and became the first Iraq veteran to compete in Beijing in 2008.

After the Beijing Olympics, Stockwell transitioned to paratriathlons, where she has won multiple national and international titles. She was also a member of the 2010 USA Paratriathlon National Team, a three-time Paratriathlon World Champion and a recent Ironman winner.

For more information or special accommodation for the event, please call (309) 438-8790.

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