USF student veteran honored by national group

11:48 AM, Jan 12, 2014   |    comments
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TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - A University of South Florida student has been named Student Veteran of the Year for raising money and attention to veterans' issues during a 3,800-mile cross-country bike from San Francisco to Washington.

Kiersten Downs raised more than $50,000 in pledges during her two-month ride last year. She blogged, tweeted and met up with veterans who rode with her along stretches of the route. She got a mention on MTV and several other national media outlets.

The Tampa Tribune reports Student Veterans of America recently honored Downs' efforts. The 31-year-old served seven years in the Air Force and Air National Guard, with three deployments to Iraq.

Downs, a doctoral candidate in anthropology, is working on a federal research project on youth suicide prevention focusing on military suicide and sexual trauma.

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