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Wally Batista Army

Photo of Wally Batista.

"All I ever wanted to was to be a good son then it transcended into being a good soldier and now my greatest task is to be a good father.'"

Wally Batista is a current Rutgers student, Army staff sergeant, and single parent--all at the age of 24. Wally's childhood in Newark, New Jersey was characterized by division; his father moved out when he was nine, forcing Wally to take care of his younger brother while his mother worked two jobs. Although a quiet and studious child, Wally made the hardest decision of his life when he enlisted in the military against his parents' wishes.

Once in the National Guard, Wally was deployed to Iraq and quickly ascended the ranks, becoming one of the youngest soldiers to hold a staff sergeant position. Wally's transition to Rutgers is speckled with hesitation, both as a student and a parent. With each obstacle, Wally relies on his training and past military experiences to persevere.