Office of Veteran and Military Affairs Staff

Ronald Novack (Colonel, U.S. Army, Ret.)J Ronald Novack

Executive Director of Veteran and Military Affairs (

Ron Novack has served as the Executive Director for the Office of Veteran and Military Affairs (OVMA) at Syracuse University since 2015. He leads a campus portfolio responsible for all programs and initiatives related to supporting the over 1,500 military-connected students, family members, and faculty and staff veteran workforce at the university.

Prior to his arrival at Syracuse University, Ron served 33 years on active duty in the United States Army – both as an enlisted soldier and officer – and retired as a Colonel in 2015. He served in the 101st Airborne Division, 82d Airborne Division, 10th Mountain Division, 3rd Infantry Division, and U.S. Special Operations Command (USASOC). Ron commanded an airborne supply company in the 82nd Airborne Division and a Supply and Services Troop in USASOC; an 850 soldier battalion in the 10th Mountain Division with a 15-month deployment during “The Surge” in Iraq; and a 3,000 soldier brigade in the 3rd Infantry Division with a nine-month deployment to Kandahar, Afghanistan. He has deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq five times.

Ron completed his undergraduate degree in Business Management from the University of Maryland. He also holds an MBA from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, an M.S. in National Resource Strategy from the National Defense University in Washington, D.C., and an MPA from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.

Dwayne Murray (Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army, Ret.)

Deputy Director (

Dwayne MurrayDwayne Murray is a native New Yorker, from White Plains, NY. He enlisted in the Army out of the Syracuse Recruiting Battalion immediately after graduating from Syracuse University. Prior to returning to Syracuse University, Dwayne spent 25 years on active duty in the United States Army – both as an enlisted soldier and officer – and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in 2022. He served in the 1st Infantry Division, 7th Infantry Division, 18th Airborne Corps, 1st Corps, U.S. Army South (USARSO), U.S. Army Recruiting Command (USAREC), U.S. Cyber Command (CYBERCOM), U.S. Army Cadet Command (USACC) and the National Security Agency (NSA).

Dwayne’s command experience includes; 293rd Signal Company, Republic of Korea,  I Corps Signal Detachment; JBLM, WA and the Ordnance Training Detachment, Fort Gordon, GA. He has deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Dwayne is a graduate of Syracuse University with degrees in Sociology and Information Studies. He earned a master’s degree in Management from the University of Phoenix; a graduate certification in Organizational Change in Higher Education and a Master’s in Higher Education Administration; both from the University of Louisville.

Mike Drum

Operations Manager (

Mike DrumMichael Drum currently serves the Office of Veteran and Military Affairs (OVMA) as Operations Manager, where he manages day to day operations and supports the team’s operational, financial, and administrative needs at the National Veterans Resource Center (NVRC). In this role, Michael plans, organizes, and executes student-veteran events on campus, and assists multiple departments support veteran and military-connected students, veteran employees, initiatives, and programs.

Prior to joining the OVMA, Michael served Syracuse University’s D’Aniello Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) for over 6 and half years. Here he served as the National Program Coordinator for the Onward to Opportunity (O2O) career preparation and employment (industry certification and training) program. He provided administrative and communications support for the national leadership team as well as his nationally dispersed teammates situated at 19 DOD installations across the United States. Prior to this, Michael also served the IVMF as an Enrollment Services Coordinator, where he worked closely with active duty and transitioning service members, veterans, and their spouses.

Michael, a Syracuse, NY native, is a six-year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, having left service with the rank of Sergeant and billet of Platoon Scout Leader in Echo Co, 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance BN, 4th MAR DIV.  During his time in uniform he was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Selected Marine Corps Reserve Medal, the Meritorious Mast Award/Citation, and the Meritorious Corporal Promotion Award to NCO. As an NCO and infantryman, Michael had the privilege of training and serving alongside his Marines and Sailors across the United States, as well as abroad in South Africa and the Kingdom of Morocco.

Michael holds a Bachelor’s degree in History from the State University of New York at Cortland and is currently pursuing his Executive Master’s in International Relations (EMIR) degree at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.

Jennifer Pluta, G’15, GCDF, CMCS

Director of Veteran Career Services (

Jennifer Pluta Portrait

Jennifer Pluta is an accomplished career services professional and champion for the career pathways of student veterans.  In her role as Director of Veteran Career Services at Syracuse University’s Office of Veteran and Military Affairs, she directs and manages the services that assist student veterans, alumni veterans, faculty, and employer partners in the career development and employment needs of student veterans. As a member of the University community for over 15-years, Pluta provides career advising expertise to students and alumni veterans regarding the job-search process, interviewing, resume, and letter writing, and all other facets of career planning through one-on-ones, workshops, conferences, and career immersion trips. Pluta is an Army Reserve Career Counselor serving as Master Sergeant in the U.S. Army Reserve. Currently, she serves as the Chair for the Syracuse University’s Veterans Affinity Group (SUVA), a group open to all members of the University community. Pluta oversee the group’s activities, such as professional development, networking events and volunteering. Pluta holds a Certified Master of Career Services (CMCS), a Global Career Developmental Facilitator (GCDF) certificate. She is a graduate of Alfred University earning a B.A. in Sociology, in addition to an M.S. in Higher Education Administration from Syracuse University.

Student veterans can schedule an appointment with Jennifer through Handshake.

Keith Doss (Senior Chief Petty Officer, U.S. Navy, Ret.)

Director Office of Veteran Success (OVS) (

Andrew Keith doss portraitAs the Director for the Office of Veteran Success, Keith Doss leads the OVS team in supporting student veterans and family members with the processing of their VA education benefits.

Prior to joining OVMA in 2018, Keith has been working for the university in various capacities since 1990 including as Assistant Director, Veterans Advisor, and Customer Service Manager.

Keith is a 26-year veteran of the United States Navy. He enlisted in 1986, transferred to the Navy Reserves in 1989 and officially retired in 2012.  During his career, he held various leadership positions such as Rig Captain and Safety Officer during underway replenishment, Unit Senior Enlisted Advisor, Command Senior Enlisted Leader and Officer-in-Charge of the Cargo Afloat Rig Team (CART) unit.

He was mobilized and deployed to the Persian Gulf in February 2003 in support of operations Iraqi Freedom, Noble Eagle and Enduring Freedom.  Following the end of major combat operations, he was re-assigned to the Sea of Japan operating area in May of 2003.

Joseph Torok

Director of Information Technology (

Torok serves as the Director of Information Technology, providing leadership, strategic planning and overall coordination of computing and information services to all entities of the Office of Veteran and Military Affairs (OVMA) at Syracuse University. Working in conjunction with the University’s CIO Office and the University Technology Leadership Committee he leads both the IVMF and the OVMA in technology advancement, in support of Syracuse University’s long-standing commitment to veterans and their families.

Torok has over 20 years of experience in Information Technology, both in field and in management roles. Prior to joining the OVMA, Torok served as the Technology Program Director at Bryant & Stratton College where he was responsible for overseeing and future growth of four technology programs of study including Network Technology, Security Technology, Office Information Technology and Mobile Application Development. With his passion for technology and lifelong learning, he illustrates the connection between technology and entrepreneurial success as well as between technology and personal development. He is a strategic, analytical intellectual who encourages learning by doing, discerns whether those he supports comprehend the delivery of new and challenging information, and shows sensitivity to learning barriers and motivation triggers by using metaphors, examples, and analogies to clarify understanding and to make difficult concepts memorable.

Throughout his career, Torok has been a leader on many technology initiatives such as the design and implementation of a hands-on network/security student lab environment for 16 college campuses and presentations that include “The Hidden Dangers of Wireless Networks,” “Moodle in the Classroom” and “It Takes a Hacker to Catch a Hacker”.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in Information Technology and a master’s degree in Networking and Network Security from Rochester Institute of Technology.

Stephanie Salanger

Director of Communications (

Stephanie Salanger began as director of communications at Office of Veteran and Military Affairs (OVMA) in 2017, bringing with her more than 25 years of experience in advertising agency and corporate communications roles, covering integrated marketing, public relations, and media relations in a variety of business industries.

Salanger is responsible for driving the national strategy of the OVMA as well as enhancing the reputation of the Syracuse University brand with regards to its imperative of supporting military-connected audiences. She spearheads the communications and design team to deliver impactful messaging and reputation management for the 10 programs within the entrepreneurship, community engagement, education and research portfolio pillars of the OVMA.

Salanger previously held senior-level communications roles at Eric Mower and Associates, Time Warner Cable and Charter Communications. She helped with the development and execution of Time Warner Cable’s national Connect a Million Minds STEM Initiative – a national program challenging parents, mentors, students and employers to increase involvement in after-school STEM-related activities. Her STEM in Sports initiative and STEM Regional Science Festival received telecommunications industry Beacon Awards in 2014 and 2015 and she was awarded several Public Relations Society of America and American Advertising Federation awards for her community engagement, publicity and marketing efforts on behalf of a variety of former clients.

Tina Kapral

Director of Development (

Tina KapralTina Kapral is the Director of Development for the Office of Veteran and Military Affairs. In this role, she is responsible for the advancement and development of relationships with government, corporations, foundations, nonprofit sectors, and individuals who have an interest in supporting Syracuse University’s commitment to the military and veteran community. Prior to this role, she served as the Senior Director of Education Programs for the Entrepreneurship and Small Business portfolio at the Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF). In this role she was charged with launching and overseeing a broad portfolio of entrepreneurship programs that reached 70,000 military connected individuals and projects that advanced and promoted veteran entrepreneurship nationwide through research, resources, and training and program development.

Kapral received her Master’s in Public Administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University and holds a Bachelor of Professional Studies, C.A.S., in Conflict Resolution and Nonprofit Management from the PARCC Institute, Syracuse University and a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management from Le Moyne College.