Charlie Poag served for over 16 years in the United States Marine Corps, starting as a combat cameraman and finishing as a communications strategy and operations chief.
Poag joined the Marines in 2001, shortly before 9/11, and was deployed to Afghanistan in 2004. In 2008, Poag was selected to participate in the Military Visual Journalism program at the Newhouse School. The Department of Defense-sponsored program offers photojournalism and broadcast journalism coursework for active-duty service members.
After leaving the military, Poag went to work for a nonprofit organization. But he quickly realized that, although he had developed invaluable skills during his time with the Marines, he still had a lot to learn. He took advantage of the G.I. Bill and enrolled at the Newhouse School, where he is now a student in the public relations program.
“If it wasn’t for the G.I. Bill, it wouldn’t have been possible for me to obtain such a valuable education and care for my family at the same time,” says Poag, who is married with two children. “It is allowing me to pursue my dream and be an active member in my local community as well as work closely with other veterans that have similar stories, and for that I am grateful.”
Poag continues to serve. Now the president of the Student Veterans Organization, he helps other student veterans as they transition to higher education. In November 2020, he was selected as a SEFCU hometown hero.
Poag plans to earn a master’s degree and hopes to make his career in government relations or public affairs.