Army Reserve veteran Erica Stevens reflects on her service in the military

St. Jude salutes all veterans, reservists and those on active duty this Veterans Day.

Erica Stevens

Army Reserve veteran Erica Stevens works in the Children’s GMP, LLC, at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

A snowy winter’s day couldn’t keep Erica Stevens away from a Veterans Affairs job fair in Washington, D.C., in November 2014. The decision to brave the winter weather paid off—a reflection of the determination that she had refined during her eight years of service in the U.S. Army Reserve.

Stevens met a recruiter at the fair from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, who encouraged her to fill out an online application. After completing the application, two phone interviews and one on-site, Stevens landed a job as a materials and document technician in the Children’s GMP, LLC, on the St. Jude campus.

The Children’s GMP facility produces biologics and drugs used in research at St. Jude as well as those used in clinical trials at St. Jude and collaborating institutions. Stevens receives and stores raw materials, and then ships and transports the final products. She credits her military experience with instilling an attention to detail, an affinity for early-morning starts and a strong multi-tasking ability.

“Serving in the military has led me to take more pride in my work regardless of the task,” Stevens said. “I want to complete my work properly and with a sense of urgency.”

After her first year of college, Stevens joined the armed forces in 2006. She has two aunts who both retired from the U.S. Army, which led her to join the Army Reserve. Stevens was deployed to Afghanistan, where she served as a military police officer stationed in the city of Bagram for nine months.

Stevens joined the Army Reserve full time as a supply sergeant after returning from Afghanistan. Originally from the Harlem neighborhood in New York, Stevens was stationed at various stops in the eastern U.S. including New York, Alabama, Florida and Virginia.

Her military service ended in October 2014. In addition to her work at St. Jude, Stevens has a new inspiration in her life—an 8-year-old daughter, Ahrianna Lillie, and husband, Atiba.

During her service, Stevens received the National Defense Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with “M” Device, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Service Star, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medals, National Defense Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal. 

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