Board of Directors

Ben Hallstrom
President & CEO

Ben Hallstrom is the Founder and CEO of STEM Veterans USA. Ben served in the United States Marine Corps from 2003 to 2007 as an Infantryman and Scout Sniper in 3rd Battalion 2nd Marines. He deployed to Naval Station Guantanamo Bay in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and two combat tours to Al Anbar Province, Iraq. Ben was honorably discharged in 2007. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Social Science at the Florida State University in 2014, a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 2018, and currently is pursuing a Master's in Public Policy at Jacksonville University. Ben currently works as a mechanical engineer for Navy's Fleet Readiness Center Southeast providing engineering assistance in the rework of aircraft components. 

Kenneth Faria
Board Member

Ken is a  senior majoring in chemical engineering at Rutgers University. On campus, Ken is the President and Founder of STEM Veterans USA at RU, working to provide services to veterans studying STEM fields such as, peer-to-peer networking, and pipelines for internships and employment. Ken also a Supervisor at the Rutgers Office of Veteran and Military Programs and serves on the Veterans Task Force. In addition to engineering involvement, Ken currently serves as a Staff Sergeant Airman with the Air National Guard. Since May 2017, Ken has been interning with Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) in Quality, Manufacturing Supply & Technology, and their Veterans Community Network areas doing such work as managing the BMS Adopt-A-Military-Family program, standardizing yield data analysis, and building a business case to transform pharmaceutical inspection procedures.

Erica Menendez
Board Member

Erica Menendez is a Master’s in Business Administration graduate from Florida State University (FSU). She received her Associates of Arts from Florida Gulf Coast University in 2012 and her Bachelors of Science in Psychology with a minor in History from FSU in 2014. During her undergraduate tenure, Erica was an active member of her sorority, Zeta Tau Alpha. She then chose to devote her graduate school years to helping veterans on Florida State University’s Campus and around the country. Erica served as External Coordinator for FSU’s one of a kind Veterans Student Union Fall 2015 and has served as Director since January 2016. Since her time as director, she has worked to be sure that veterans on campus are not only recognized but continued to be honored. After Receiving her MBA in August 2017, she moved to Tampa Fl where she works at AgileThought as an Internal Sales Representative.

Anna Gai
Board Member

Anna Gai is a doctoral student at Florida State University and Assistant Director of FSU Psychology Clinic. Anna’s primary research interest is understanding the risk factors and outcomes for suicidal behavior, and overall mental health within the military. She is also interested in mental health stigma within the military culture, and the outcomes of treatment programs for military personnel and their families. Anna's father served in the Navy for 20 years inspiring Anna to pursue a career in clinical psychology.

Samantha Browder
Board Member

Samantha is an FSU alumnus with a major in Marketing and a minor in Biology. After serving as the COO of the FSU STEM Veterans USA campus team, she found that her passion for the mission did not die post-graduation. She spends her time volunteering at local veteran and active-duty military events promoting mental health, active service well-being, and community development. Actively working within staffing of a STEM-focused industry, she finds herself continually making connections with veterans looking to further their education and professional life. Currently based in Jacksonville, FL, she continually networks and builds relationships with local and national companies that have a strong focus on veteran-related partnerships.

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