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Marine, former Yeager Scholar addresses students at annual event

May. 03, 2013 @ 11:25 PM

HUNTINGTON -- A former Marshall University Yeager Scholar who credits the academic rigor of the program to his success in the Marine Corps returned to campus Friday evening to speak at the annual Elizabeth Gibson Drinko Honors Convocation.

"I was well suited for the initial Marine Corps training because it focuses on leadership, academics and physical fitness," Maj. Matthew M. Powers, a Proctorville, Ohio, native, said in the fall at a Yeager Scholars alumni banquet. "The Yeager program helped me in the first two areas."

Powers, who graduated from Marshall with a degree in economics in 2000, completed his initial Marine Corps training in 2002, and was deployed to Iraq in 2004 and 2005. The Marine Corps then allowed him to attend the University of Minnesota School of Law, from where he earned his juris doctor degree in May 2008.

Powers began serving as a prosecutor and was then deployed for a third time to Afghanistan as an operational law attorney.

He resumed his role as a prosecutor after returning from Afghanistan in April 2010 and soon became a special assistant U.S. attorney for the Marine Corps in the eastern district of North Carolina.

Powers' personal decorations include the Navy-Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Gold Star, the Navy-Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Gold Star and the Presidential Unit Citation.

Currently, he is working toward an LLM in international law at The Judge Advocate General's Legal Center and School with the U.S. Army in Charlottesville, Va.

In addition to Powers' speech, nearly 160 students were recognized for their academic achievements.

The event is named for the late Elizabeth Gibson Drinko, who was a longstanding supporter of academic programs at Marshall.

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