Student & Alumni Spotlight: Allene M. Osborne, ’17 and MSW ’19

Meet Allene M. Osborne, an Eagle twice over! Allene’s story is a true testament to how the student experience at EWU can influence our career pathway just as much as our academic choices can.

Allene graduated with her BA in Children’s Studies, with a certificate in in Disability Studies, in 2017 before going on to earn her Master of Social Work degree in 2019. She currently works as a Rating Veteran Service Representative for the Department of Veteran Affairs.

“After graduation, I moved back to the west side of the state,” Allene told us. “I went to a job fair at a local community college and ended up speaking with the Veterans Benefits Administration. I had met their director when still attending EWU, as he came out to our campus to meet and speak with students. [This was] coordinated through the Veteran Resource Center’s David Millet a year or so prior.”

“I had never considered a career with the VA,” Allene remarked, “but [I] remembered that meeting and decided to interview when offered the opportunity to do so in the spot. An hour or so later I was offered a position as a Veteran Service Representative and a little less than two years later I transitioned to becoming a rater.”

We also asked Allene if they’d expected to end up in their current career while still at EWU. “I never, ever dreamed I would work for the VA,” she said. “I had been an analyst in the service, among other things, and then transitioned to advocating for children and mental health whole in my bachelor’s program. I loved that work too!”

“And yet,” Allene continued, “as my BA came to its final year, I felt strongly there was more I had to offer, I just didn’t know what. I was very fortunate to have mentors like David Millet and Kevin Hills who encouraged me to continue on to grad school, and it really was in those final two years I found who I was, post-service. By the time I graduated, I knew that wherever life would take me, I would be prepared because of the mentorship, training and education I received while at EWU. And I was right.”

When asked how she feels about her job, Allene said, “I love my job. It can be stressful for sure but at the end of the day I know that every claim I touch has been processed to the very best of my abilities. As a veteran, who is married to a veteran and has many dear friends and family who are also veterans, I see this career as a way to continue my service to my brothers and sisters in arms. I have the opportunity to make a difference and have gained an understanding of the process that helps me advocate for the very best outcome possible for each veteran and their family. It’s truly an honor.”

We asked Allene what career advice they’d give to Eagles pursuing their own post-graduate pathways. “Take a deep breath and pause before rushing into your search for employment,” she said. “There are jobs out there you may think you want, or that offer a lot of money, but the work environment is toxic, or the hours are long and grueling with no time for family or even yourself! Then there are careers that offer you growth, an opportunity to push past your comfort zone, and find the best you possible. Be willing to take chances! If the past few years have shown us anything, it would be to find what you value and make that a cornerstone of your search. Not every day will be awesome (or at least not for me!) but I know that every day I am making a difference.”

If you are a current EWU student or proud alumnus with a job, internship, or career path you’d like to share with the EWU community, you can send us your submission here: