Success Story

Veteran Spotlight: Ivy Dragyn

Katie Ettl
February 28, 2024

46-year-old Navy veteran Ivy Dragyn is a breath of fresh air at the Jon W. Paulson Veterans Community (JWPVC). A skilled computer scientist, Ivy built her own computer after moving into the housing site in February 2023. Ivy served eight years in the Navy as an aviation specialist and was inspired to learn more about computers during her time stationed in Japan. “I saw technology and systems that weren’t introduced in the US yet,” Ivy recalls, “It was exciting and lit a fire in me that never went out.”

Ivy used her GI Bill benefits to study computer science and went on to work in the tech industry until it became overwhelming for her. “The COVID-19 pandemic upended my life,” Ivy says, “employment appeared to be the root of my struggles, but I realized I needed to address my overall wellbeing first in order to get better.” Ivy’s move to JWPVC has allowed her to decompress and access the resources she needs to work on her wellbeing. With the stress of finding a stable home alleviated, Ivy can focus on things that make her happy.

Ivy’s computer took 10 months to plan out, but only a day to build. "The planning process is what I find most enjoyable," Ivy says, "it's thrilling to see so much work come to life." Since its completion, she brings the 60-pound computer down to the TV room during video game programs to share it with her neighbors. All the residents who stop by to see the computer also bring their various questions relating to technology and the internet, and Ivy is happy to answer them. This has encouraged Ivy to share her expertise and connect with her neighbors who need more assistance with technology.

“We’re proud of our community- many residents here are talented,” Kenyon Wingo, peer specialist at JWPVC shares, “What Ivy does is impressive, and I appreciate having her around to show other veterans what’s possible with technology.”