Yvonne Moody

From Arab Linguist to Biology Major

After six years in the Navy training to be an Arabic linguist, Yvonne Moody realized the fast paced intelligence community was no longer her passion, so in 2016 she left the Navy to come to VCU and pursue her interest in science.

VCU had been on Moody’s radar since high school due to the opportunities in the healthcare field as well as being close to her Virginia Beach home. With funding provided by the Post 9/11 GI Bill, Moody was able pursue a higher education and is now pursuing a biology major and a chemistry minor.

Originally enlisting in the Navy as an electronics technician, Moody was told that there was a position available as a linguist and began training seven days a week for 63 weeks learning Arabic.

“I’m glad I was fortunate enough to learn Arabic and not just more common languages like Spanish or German or French,” said Moody. “I bring to the table a different skill set that is just as beneficial. She completed her language training at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, CA and then was stationed in Fort Gordon, GA.

“Learning Arabic from scratch was definitely a challenge, but I’m so proud of myself for getting through it and maintaining my proficiency,” said Moody. “There are amazing job opportunities that I could pursue in the civilian world with my language skills.”

Moody’s father retired from the Navy after serving 20 years and during his service he supported Operation Desert Storm.

“I am a Navy brat, so it was easy to narrow down my options when deciding which branch to join,” said Moody. “The military provided great structure and benefits, which made it very appealing.” Moody currently serves in the reserves where she attends trainings one weekend a month while still being a full time student.

This year, Moody was awarded the Meadows L. Phillips and Thomas H. Weatherford Veterans Scholarship that is awarded to a full-time undergraduate or graduate student who has been honorably discharged from one of the U.S. armed forces. The Scholarship was established in 2011 through a memorial gift by Joyce and David Phillips in memory of David’s father, Meadows L. Phillips, and his cousin, Thomas H. Weatherford.

“I feel honored and grateful to have been chosen,” said Moody, who is able to partially fund her education through the scholarship.

“Learning how the body and its functions work is always interesting,” said Moody. “Cellular and molecular biology is definitely the most interesting to me. Learning how we can manipulate pathways to alter responses is exciting to learn about.”