‘Best Place for Vets’ in Full Force at Student Veterans of America Conference

Syracuse University student veterans and members of the Office of Veterans and Military Affairs, the Institute for Veterans and Military Families, the Veterans Affinity Group, and University admissions attended the Student Veterans of America National Conference in San Antonio in early January.

Syracuse University turned the Lone Star State orange recently as over 20 Orange student veterans, the Office of Veterans and Military Affairs (OVMA), the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF), the team from the Veterans Affinity Group, and University admissions attended the Student Veterans of America (SVA) National Conference in San Antonio in early January.

Syracuse boasted the largest Student Veteran Organization student chapter in attendance and in total the University had over 30 people at the conference. SVA’s national conference is the largest annual gathering of student veterans, advocates, thought leaders, stakeholders and supporters in higher education in the world. Over 2,000 student veterans, higher education professionals, alumni and employers attend for training, recruiting and fact-finding about opportunities for student veterans.

The three-day conference consisted of breakout sessions geared toward student veteran success and post-graduation opportunities. Syracuse University had the most presentation and panel discussions—five—than any other university, sharing “best practices” (campus resources, culture, research and analytics, entrepreneurship, financial literacy) with other universities and solidifying the University’s commitment to making the University the “Best Place for Veterans.”

Leaders from OVMA and the University led a panel discussion about the role on-campus resources play in maximizing student veteran networks, resources and the importance of professional networking as well as critical financial literacy.

IVMF’s Research and Evaluation team’s presentation focused on debunking the myths surrounding veterans as college students and discussed empirical evidence touting the benefits of enrolling these non-traditional students on a campus. In addition, IVMF delivered training on entrepreneurship in conjunction with key University partners—First Data, Disney and the Small Business Administration —reinforcing the program and resources available to student veterans interested in starting a business while pursuing education.

Student veterans were able to network with members from the OVMA, IVMF and University admissions learning about all that Syracuse University has to offer to student veterans on campus and at training programs around the U.S.

“It is critical to empower our student veterans and afford them the opportunity to attend the SVA National Conference, where they learn a great deal of best practices, bring those back to campus to further enrich their student experience and that of others at Syracuse University,” says Ron Novack, OVMA executive director. “None of this could happen without the generous support of our gracious donors and supporters of the Veterans Legacy Fund(VLF), who enabled us to send our 20 student veterans to the conference this year. We hope others will join the VLF and help us increase that number next year.”

James Gilchrest, Newman’s Own Foundation Fellow at the IVMF and National Guardsman, attended the conference. “I was ecstatic when I learned I would be going to #NatCon2018. I am a former SVA chapter president and have always wanted to attend,” Gilchrest says. “During NatCon I made it my personal mission to share the programs IVMF offers as well as OVMA’s unique and supportive services on campus. I also made great connections with employers and other organizations who are terrific support resources for me as a student veteran. I’m proud to be affiliated with a university that keeps the needs of student veterans at the top of their priority list.”

Katy Quartaro ’18 USMC veteran and secretary of Syracuse University’s SVO, as well as a team leader for PAVE also attended. “One of the biggest things I learned at SVA NATCON was that the student veterans of Syracuse University are very lucky,” Quartaro says. “I do not think I would have been able to attend without the help of the University, OVMA and the Veteran Legacy Fund. The fact that I was able to focus on learning as much as possible without worrying about the financial impact, made the event that much better and reinforced the support student veterans here at SU really get.”

About Syracuse University

Founded in 1870, Syracuse University is a private international research university dedicated to advancing knowledge and fostering student success through teaching excellence, rigorous scholarship and interdisciplinary research. Comprising 11 academic schools and colleges, the University has a long legacy of excellence in the liberal arts, sciences and professional disciplines that prepares students for the complex challenges and emerging opportunities of a rapidly changing world. Students enjoy the resources of a 270-acre main campus and extended campus venues in major national metropolitan hubs and across three continents. Syracuse’s student body is among the most diverse for an institution of its kind across multiple dimensions, and students typically represent all 50 states and more than 100 countries. Syracuse also has a long legacy of supporting veterans and is home to the nationally recognized Institute for Veterans and Military Families, the first university-based institute in the U.S. focused on addressing the unique needs of veterans and their families.

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Hometown Hero: LTC (U.S. Army Ret.) Ed Kiewra

Syracuse Employee and Army Veteran, Ed Kiewra will be honored as the Hometown Hero during the Syracuse Men’s Football game vs. Boston College on Saturday, November 25, 2017.

Lieutenant Colonel Kiewra was commissioned as a military intelligence second lieutenant in the US Army in September 1970 through the ROTC program at Hofstra University. Having been detailed as an infantry officer for his first year, he graduated from the infantry officer basic course, Ranger School, and jump school prior to his first assignment with the 25th Infantry Division. After serving as both a mortar and rifle platoon leader in an infantry company, he moved on to serving in several different capacities as an intelligence officer, including providing intelligence support for contingency operations assigned to the Division.

 

His next assignment was with the 82nd Airborne Division, where he served as the intelligence staff officer in an airborne infantry battalion, a Division intelligence reconnaissance and surveillance staff officer, and a company commander in the Division’s military intelligence battalion. He had many memorable and personally rewarding experiences as a commander, to include leading his company on an 8-mile run in formation, with the entire unit completing the run in just over one hour.

 

Following his five years with the 82nd Airborne Division, he served as a special security officer at a remote installation on the Black Sea coast in Turkey. He returned to the US for an assignment as a systems manager with the US Army Intelligence and Security Command, where he assessed future technical requirements and coordinated logistical and training life-cycle support for new technical systems at several strategic signals intelligence installations.

 

He was then assigned as a strategic intelligence officer with the Defense Intelligence Agency. In this capacity, he exercised primary analytical responsibilities for issues related to command, control, and communications functions associated with the transportation systems of former Warsaw Pact countries. He also researched, authored, and published four comprehensive studies and a number of shorter analytical papers and assessments related to Soviet military logistical capabilities and vulnerabilities in Afghanistan that were disseminated at the highest levels of the Department of Defense and Executive Branch, as well as to members of Congress.

 

His final assignment was at the Defense Language Institute, where he graduated from the Italian language course and served as the associate dean of the Asian School at the Institute. He retired from active military service in January 1991.

 

Lieutenant Colonel Kiewra’s commitment and dedication to the Army, its mission, and the soldiers with whom her served was best summarized by one of his battalion commanders, who said, “If I had to take my battalion into combat, I would want (then) Captain Kiewra as one of my company commanders.”

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Hometown Hero: U.S. Navy Veteran Derek Brainard

Syracuse University employee and U.S. Navy  Veteran, Derek Brainard, was honored as “Hometown Hero” during Friday’s SU Women’s Volleyball vs. Virginia Tech.

U.S. Navy Veteran, Petty Officer Second Class Derek Brainard hails from Kirkville, New York. He served as a United States Navy Musician from July 2007 to December 2013. Upon completion of Recruit Training Command Basic Training in Great Lakes, Illinois and Musician “A” School in Little Creek, Virgina, Petty Officer Brainard completed his full tour of duty attached to Naval Base Kitsap, in Bremerton, Washington.

As a member of Navy Band Northwest, Petty Officer Brainard served as a Trumpet Instrumentalist, Unit Leader, Operations Coordinator, Command Fitness Leader, and Public Affairs Officer. Petty Officer Brainard’s musicianship and leadership directly contributed to over 640 performances for audiences exceeding 30 million people. He is the recipient of two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.

The proudest moments of Petty Officer Brainard’s career as a military bugler came in the solemn service of rendering “Taps” to those that gave the greatest sacrifice for our country and our enduring freedom.

Today, Derek Brainard is Syracuse University’s Financial Literacy Coordinator.

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Hometown Hero- Army ROTC Cadet Colin Santacroce

Syracuse University Army ROTC Cadet and U.S. Army Veteran, Colin Santacroce, was honored as “Hometown Hero” during Friday’s SU Football game vs. Clemson.

Cadet Colin Santacroce enlisted in the United States Army in 2010 as an 11 Bravo, Infantryman, and he attended One Station Unit Training at Fort Benning, Georgia.

 

After completing Infantry training, Cadet Santacroce served in 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, in the 10th Mountain Division, at Fort Drum, New York.  He deployed as a Squad Assault Weapons gunner to the Zhari District of Kandahar, Afghanistan for one year in support of OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM.

In 2012, Cadet Santacroce completed the Warrior Leader Course at Fort Drum and was the recipient of the Jared C. Monti award for outstanding leadership.  After his promotion to Sergeant, Cadet Santacroce deployed again to Afghanistan in support of OPERATON ENDURING FREEDOM for one year. He was later promoted to Staff Sergeant.

 

Cadet Santacroce’s proudest military moment was winning the 10th Mountain Division’s best Non-Commissioned Officer competition in February 2015.  Today, he attends Syracuse University on a Green-to-Gold Scholarship.  In December 2018, Cadet Santacroce will enter the United States Army as a 2nd Lieutenant.

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Celebrating Latino/Hispanic Heritage Month: Maria Delgado, Public Health G’19, Student Veteran

As Latino/Hispanic Heritage Month continues through October 15th, 2017 Maria Delgado G’19 took some time to reflect on how her heritage and family influenced her to join the U.S. Army. Delgado, a Syracuse University graduate student from Buenos Aires Argentina, Army medic and LPN, credits her family’s hardworking lifestyle for her success in the Army and now is focused on Public Health in Falk College with a goal of ultimately working to improve preventative patient care – and becoming a commissioned officer. She is a prime example of the value student veterans bring to the campus and what Syracuse University offers to our nation’s heroes.

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Hometown Hero: Student Veteran Katherine Quartaro

Syracuse University Student and Marine Corps Veteran, Katherine Quartaro, was honored as “Hometown Hero” during today’s SU Football game vs. Pittsburgh.

Katherine was born in Rochester, New York, and graduated from Churchville-Chili Senior High School in 2008. She attended Basic Training at Parris Island, South Carolina.  Following combat and Military Police training, she reported to III Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group, Military Police Support Company in Okinawa, Japan and was briefly assigned to the Marine Corps Air Station Futenma Provost Marshal’s Office.

 

In June 2010, Katherine was attached to the 12th Marine Artillery Regiment to deploy in support of Operation Enduring Freedom- Philippines and she deployed to the southern island of Mindanao, Philippines, as part of the Marine Security Element for the Joint Special Operations Task Force- Philippines (JSOTF-P).  She served as the Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of ammunition. Katherine acted as Quick Response Force and security on various humanitarian missions, and escorted VIPs and sensitive mission critical materials through areas dense with Al-Qaeda backed rebels. For this deployment, she was awarded the Joint Service Achievement Medal, and the Global War on Terror Expeditionary Medal.  Following her return to Japan, Katherine attended Military Working Dog Handler’s Course at Lackland Air Force Base where she graduated at the top of her class with distinguished honors. She also served as a Combat Marksmanship Coach after receiving high rifle and pistol qualifications throughout her career.

 

In 2012, Katherine was assigned to the Provost Marshal’s Office, Headquarters Battalion, Marine Corps Base Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, where she and her explosive detector dog conducted patrols, antiterrorism operations, and assisted the U.S. Secret Service on multiple missions.  In 2013 Katherine transferred to the Criminal Investigation Division, where she conducted investigations of military, State, and Federal law alongside NCIS. For her service with the Criminal Investigation Division, she was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal prior to separating honorably in October 2016 after eight years of active duty service.  Katherine is a Junior studying Forensic Science and Psychology and she serves as the Secretary of the Student Veterans Organization and the Team Leader for the PAVE program. Katherine’s proudest moment of her service was becoming a Marine and receiving her Eagle, Globe, and Anchor from her Senior Drill Instructor, SSgt Davis, following the Crucible at MCRD Parris Island.

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Hometown Hero: United States Marine Corps Sergeant Katelyn Hunter

United States Marine Corps Sergeant Katelyn Hunter is the Hometown Hero for the September 9, 2017 SU Football Game V. Middle Tennessee.

Sergeant Hunter’s first assignment was with the Marine Corps Installations Pacific in Okinawa, Japan. She deployed with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit supporting multiple small-scale exercises in various countries in the Pacific.

In 2015, Sergeant Hunter graduated the Machine Gunner’s course at the School of Infantry in Camp Geiger, North Carolina. She became part of the first group of females to earn this skill in the Marine Corps.Sergeant Hunter’s proudest military moment was in 2014 when she received the Corporal William T. Perkins Award as the Marine Corps’ Combat Cameraman of the Year.

Sergeant Hunter’s proudest military moment was in 2014 when she received the Corporal William T. Perkins Award as the Marine Corps’ Combat Cameraman of the Year.

Today, she is a student at the Military Photojournalism program at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.

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Syracuse University, the Institute for Veterans and Military Families Discuss Veterans Issues at Stand-To Event

 

Syracuse University and the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) were among the participants at the George W. Bush Institute’s Stand-To summit. The summit, which focused on veteran transition, convened key leaders from government, higher education and the private and philanthropic sectors to outline key priorities and a cohesive action plan to help more veterans and their families thrive.

Chancellor Kent Syverud and J. Michael Haynie, vice chancellor for strategic initiatives and innovation and IVMF executive director, participated in the event, which included the nation’s foremost experts participating in the summit.

Chancellor Syverud appeared on a panel consisting of high-profile leaders in higher education, including Margaret Spellings, former Secretary of Education and president of the University of North Carolina system; and Admiral (ret.) William McRaven, Chancellor of the University of Texas System. The panelists discussed some of the most pressing issues facing veterans and their families as identified by a working group led by Vice Chancellor Haynie. Health and well-being; education; and employment were just a handful of the topics discussed.

Former President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush delivered remarks, and U.S. Secretary of Veteran Affairs David Shulkin participated in a conversation moderated by POLITICO. The event will also feature a congressional panel on issues faced by transitioning veterans.

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Syracuse University: Gateway for America’s Veterans (Video)

Syracuse University: Gateway for America’s Veterans highlights Syracuse University‘s commitment to the military and our nations veterans– both past and present. Today, student veterans and military-connected students, receive support from dedicated staff from the moment they consider applying to long after they have left the University. Watch the following video to learn more about our story of supporting those who have served our nation!

 

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Simulations Guide Veterans Facing Challenges in Higher Education

Syracuse University researchers from The Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF), the Office of Military Affairs (OVMA) and the School of Education (SOE) collaborate to develop simulated interaction models (SIMs) for veterans transitioning into and currently enrolled in higher education.

 

March 1, 2017. From feelings of loneliness to anxiety, veterans may face many challenges transitioning into or acclimating to campus life. In an effort to help those with such difficulties, researchers from the IVMF, OVMA and the School of Education at Syracuse University will begin the process of developing simulated interaction models, better known as SIMs, for veterans in higher education. According to Nick Armstrong, Ph.D., Senior Director for Research and Policy, for IVMF, such challenges exist and are ones that he knows all too well. “Unfortunately, research shows that many veterans express more angst over fitting in on a college campus than going back overseas on their n’th combat tour. And, I lived this in my own experience here at Syracuse a decade ago,” says Armstrong.

 

Benjamin Dotger, professor of Teaching and Leadership at the School of Education, (SOE), has been using SIMs for over a decade to prepare pre-service teachers and educational leaders.  Dotger’s SIMs builds from medical education’s use of simulations, where future physicians engage with standardized patients. Dotger and colleagues use SIMs to study how future teachers and leaders engage in direct, face-to-face interactions with carefully trained actors who serve as standardized parents, students, or colleagues.  Situated in a simulation room at SUNY Upstate Medical University’s Clinical Skills Center, a future educator faces the questions, statements, and issues that a standardized individual presents, working to synthesize the content knowledge, instructional practices, and professional dispositions taught within the School of Education. Simulations are then video recorded, allowing for structured, systematic, data-informed reflection by those who participate.

 

The clinical simulations, specific to veterans and ROTC members, will be designed using data gathered from Syracuse University student veterans getting ready to transition on campus and those currently enrolled at SU, along with those who have graduated. The simulations will be structured to model situations that veterans may face when they come to campus in order to help them better transition to campus life. According to Dotger, while currently in the initial stages, this project has the potential to be ground breaking. “This project presents a potential game-changing opportunity for higher education to, on the one hand, develop better tools that would support veterans’ transition to campuses across the country and, on the other hand, prepare the future professoriate and student affairs cadre on leading practices supporting student veteran success.”

 

Additionally, says Dotger, “it is critical that we both recognize and support our veterans as they – and their families – transition from military service to collegiate study.” Clinical simulations are opportunities to practice engaging in specific situations.  “Our hope, he says, is that SIMs will help veterans’ practice the transitions – the tough situations and unforeseen challenges – in an environment that is supportive–we expect the project to build community among cohorts of veterans as they transition to SU, and we expect the project to offer support to veterans as they join the broader SU community.”

 

The SIMs for veterans in higher education project is set to begin next month. For more information, visit the IVMF, OVMF or SOE websites at ivmf.syr.edu, veterans.syr.edu, or soe.syr.edu.

 

About the Syracuse University School of Education (SOE)

The mission of the Syracuse University School of Education is to prepare thoughtful and socially just leaders who bridge scholarship and practice. Through collaborative partnerships and multifaceted inclusive approaches, we enhance student learning and success, physical activity and health, and mental health and wellbeing across communities. For more information about the School of Education, visit, soe.syr.edu.

 

About the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University

The Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) is the first interdisciplinary national institute in higher education focused on the social, economic, education, and policy issues impacting veterans and their families. Through its professional staff and experts, the IVMF delivers leading programs in career, vocational, and entrepreneurship education and training, while also conducting actionable research, policy analysis, and program evaluations. The IVMF also supports communities through collective impact efforts that enhance delivery and access to services and care. The Institute, supported by a distinguished advisory board, along with public and private partners, is committed to advancing the lives of those who have served in America’s armed forces and their families. For more information, visit ivmf.syracuse.edu and follow the IVMF on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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