Born in 1967, Brenda E. Smull, DTM grew up in Spotswood, New Jersey. She attended Rutgers College, where she majored in biochemistry and minored in psychology.
While at Rutgers, she participated in Army ROTC, earning a commission upon graduation in 1989 and an active-duty slot in the Signal Corps. After completing officer's training at Fort Gordon, she was stationed at Fort Hood. She served as a platoon leader in the 13th Signal Battalion, First Cavalry Division during the Persian Gulf War, first to Saudi Arabia in October 1990 and then to Iraq for the ground war in February 1991.
After her military service, she worked briefly in pharmaceutical sales in 1992-'93, before going into information technology (IT). She has worked at Charles Schwab for nearly a decade.
Since 1994, she has been involved in Toastmasters International, holding several leadership positions. She is active in American Legion Post 64 in Ahwatukee, Arizona and has been member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars since 1991. She is the author of Strong Words and Simple Truths: The Courage to Communicate, published in 2021. Smull's websites can be found at https://brendasmull.com/ and https://thecouragetocommunicate.com/
In part one, Smull delves into her family's history, upbringing, education and ROTC at Rutgers, military service, and experiences in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. In part two, she continues to discuss her service in the Gulf War. In part three, she traces her career in IT and involvement in Toastmasters and veterans' organizations.
The Rutgers Oral History Archives received an operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State. In the 2021-2022 cycle, this grant assisted the ROHA staff in making this oral history available to you for your use.