TAMPA, Fla. (Aug. 1, 2013) – For the past two months she’s traveled thousands of miles, from coast to coast, through about a dozen states. But Kiersten Downs hasn’t driven a car or hopped on an airplane. The University of South Florida student and Iraq war veteran has experienced the entire journey by riding her bicycle.
Now Downs is ready to cross the finish line in Washington, D.C. on Monday, Aug. 5, having raised more than $50,000 for Student Veterans of America.
Downs will finish her ride around 6 p.m. near the National Veterans Center, located at 2013 H Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20006 on the campus of The George Washington University.
Media is also invited to meet Downs at 5:15 p.m. at the Lincoln Memorial for additional photo and video opportunities.
At the finish line Downs will be met by a group of supporters, including members of USF’s SVA chapter, USF Associate Vice President for Veterans Research and Executive Director of Military Partnerships Lt. Gen. Martin Steele, USMC (Ret.), as well as leadership from the national SVA organization. A reception will also be held from 6-8 p.m.
Photos, sound bites, and video of Downs riding through Washington, D.C. and crossing the finish line are expected to be posted before 9 p.m. on Monday on this FTP site.
Downs is currently a PhD student in anthropology at USF. She started in San Francisco in early June, raising money and awareness for SVA, a national organization dedicated to providing veterans with the resources and support to make a successful transition from the military to campus life.
At the beginning of Downs’ journey, MTV, MTV2, and mtvU featured her story, with a special appearance by “America’s Got Talent” host Nick Cannon: http://www.mtvu.com/video/?vid=907021.
The University of South Florida is a high-impact, global research university dedicated to student success. USF ranks 50th in the nation for federal expenditures in research and total expenditures in research among all U.S. universities, public or private, according to the National Science Foundation. Serving more than 47,000 students, the USF System has an annual budget of $1.5 billion and an annual economic impact of $3.7 billion. USF is a member of the American Athletic Conference.