When female veterans return from deployment, they face many challenges as they readjust to civilian life.

Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, required deployed women to participate in every aspect of the war.

Cookie Mankowski, an assistant professor in the School of Social Work at West Virginia University will present “Coming Home: readjustment for women veterans returning from Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom,” at 4 p.m. Thursday (Oct. 23), in Elizabeth Moore Hall on the Downtown Campus.

The event is free and open to the public.

During the 20-minute talk, Mankowski will discuss her research on the difficulties female veterans face when returning from the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.

“Civilian life is quite unpredictable. It’s everything from picking up the kids, making dinner, to going to work, all still within the experience of their military life. Adjusting to civilian life post-deployment was not always easy or smooth for the women in my study,” Mankowski said.

The two recent conflicts were different than most wars in the sense that there were no front or rear lines, as in a number of previous wars. In Iraq and Afghanistan, every place was a battle zone.

“Women, although they might not have had a military occupational specialty that was described for battle, they were still in battle grounds. They were still getting hit by mortars and had to avoid improvised explosive devices,” Mankowski said.

Mankowski completed her bachelor’s degree at Michigan State University and earned her master’s degree from the University of Michigan. She received a pre-dissertation fellowship at Yale University and her Ph.D. from Smith College.

She has experience providing clinical social work and case management services, and has been employed at community mental health agencies, schools, universities and hospitals.

The Fireside Chats are sponsored by the WVU Center for Women’s and Gender Studies and made possible through contributions to the Women’s Studies Development Fund.

For more information, contact Mankowski at mamankowski@mail.wvu.edu.



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