For me, this New Year has meant a new everything; new city, new living arrangement, and a new job. I moved up to Capital Region this January after five years of living in downtown Manhattan. I know most people do the opposite, but I guess love makes you do crazy things. After two years of a long distance relationship, my boyfriend and I decided to make the leap to move in together and now here I am!

I’ll be honest; it was daunting to remotely conduct a job search in an unfamiliar city with very few connections. Luckily, I saw the posting for a Project Assistant at Policy Research Associates in the Service Members Veterans and their Families Technical Assistance (SMVF TA) Center and knew it was the job for me. I knew this was the chance for me to jump into a position where I could feel good about the work that I was doing.

When Donna, the SMVF TA Center Project Director, called me to talk about the job she asked me if I would be interested in traveling to Hawaii, Guam, or Alaska – I had to stop myself from screaming, “OF COURSE I WOULD!!” Luckily Donna was excited by my enthusiasm and now I am PRA’s new Project Assistant for SMVF TA Center. I was hired alongside another Project Assistant for the SMVF TA Center and having a coworker alongside me who is experiencing the same “newness” as me has been wonderful; it is nice to know that there is someone less than ten feet away who is going through the same adjustment as I am.

Our SMVF TA group at the front of the office is a pretty unique set of people – everyone has a really interesting life story and it creates a great dynamic of energetic and passionate people who all happen to love the AMC’s The Walking Dead. I will have to jump on the bandwagon and start watching now.

Soon, I will be going out to different states to serve as a scribe in meetings in which state policy-makers will strategize how best to improve their behavioral health services for the SMVF population. Some of the upcoming travel possibilities include Hawaii, North Dakota, Missouri, and Wyoming. In preparation for my travels, I have a map of the US taped up next to my desk and plan to color in every state that I travel to; hopefully I can get to all 50 states in the next three years. It’s a lofty goal, but with 92 site visits planned for 2013, I know I will be going places with the SMVF TA Center!