Dan Rubio is one of the many student veterans here at the University using his Post-9/11 G.I. Bill benefits to pursue his academic goals. In his case, this means a dual major in biology and environment, sustainability and policy in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Rubio is also the team leader for Peer Advisors for Veterans Education (PAVE), a peer support network that connects incoming undergraduate student veterans on campus with other student veterans who can help them navigate college life, address challenges, refer them to appropriate resources on and off-campus, and provide ongoing support.

“The work-life balance can get pretty tough,” says Rubio, who served for 13 years in the U.S. Army. “There’s always the concern that something will happen when my wife is busy, and I’ll have to drop everything to rush back home.”

As a veteran, Rubio was drawn to Syracuse University’s focus on recruiting and educating veterans. “From my research, I learned Syracuse was one of the best places for veterans,” Rubio says. “I didn’t want to put all my eggs in one basket, so I applied to other places, but once I was accepted by Syracuse, that was it. I knew I wanted to come here.”

One thing many veterans talk about after leaving the service is missing the camaraderie and community that comes along with the shared experience of serving in the military. PAVE and the Student Veterans Organization (SVO) are two Syracuse programs that help student veterans integrate into a welcoming environment that lets them know they are not alone.

“In the military you have friends all over the country, and even all over the world. Here, it can get kind of lonely at times. That’s why I like PAVE and the SVO,” Rubio says.

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