Ten People on Campus Helping Student Veterans Succeed

For new and returning student veterans alike, learning about all the resources available as a student veteran here at Syracuse University (and online) can seem overwhelming. But all across campus, there are people here to help, available any time to answer your top questions and connect you to the resources you need. From Veterans Administration (VA) education paperwork questions to resume review to getting involved in volunteering or a peer advisory group, the team below has you covered and will help you navigate university life as a Syracuse University student.

From all of us, we’re so excited to have you here on campus and help you make Syracuse your home.

Ron Novack
J Ronald Novack Portrait

Ron Novack, jrnovack@syr.edu

Executive Director,  Office of Veteran and Military Affairs (OVMA)

Novack served in numerous command and staff positions as both an enlisted soldier and officer during his 33 years on active duty in the U.S. Army when he finally retired as a colonel in 2015. He leads the campus portfolio responsible for all programs and initiatives supporting the over 1,500 military-connected students and family members, as well as the faculty and staff military veteran workforce on campus. As the executive director of the OVMA, he is also responsible for developing new veteran and military-connected programs on campus, empowering you to be successful in your academic career. If you ever need any assistance or direction on how to accomplish something on campus, Novack is the person to speak to.

Keith Doss, akdoss@uc.syr.edu

Assistant Director,  Office of Veteran Success (OVS)

We know that finding your way through all the VA education benefit procedures, documentation and paperwork that dominate school life can be daunting. And for military-connected students, these processes can be even more time-consuming and complicated. Doss, who is a retired Navy senior chief,  has worked for years with students and other departments on campus to ease the hassles that student veterans have to go through when it comes to certifying benefits and coordinating with the VA. He knows the ins and outs of what has to be done, when and how. He is every student veteran’s “go-to guy,” so remember he is here to help if you find yourself getting bogged down and frustrated with the complexities of your VA education benefits.

Keith Doss

Jennifer Pluta, jrpluta@syr.edu

Assistant Director for Veteran Career Services

Every student will come to a crossroads during his or her time at school when they start worrying about life after graduation and the inevitable job hunt. The unique advantage of being a veteran entering the civilian professional world is that there are many opportunities specially crafted for veterans. Pluta, with over 15 years of career services experience at the University, is the person who will guide you through job hunting, helping you every step of the way with your resume, interviews, LinkedIn profile, connections to employers and everything in between. You can book an appointment with her through “Handshake” to get started. Pluta, who is also a currently serving master sergeant in the U.S. Army Reserves, can also introduce you to the Syracuse University Veterans Affinity Group (SUVA), a group open to all members of campus with military service experience or a passion for supporting those who have served that organizes activities, such as professional development, networking events and volunteering.

Beth Kubala, egkubala@law.syr.edu

Executive Director, Betty and Michael D. Wohl’s Veterans Legal Clinic (VLC)

As the executive director of the Betty and Michael D. Wohl’s Veterans Legal Clinic (VLC), Kubala oversees operations, supervises student attorneys in representation of veterans, teaches the Veterans Legal Clinic Seminar and supports veteran community relations. The VLC is a “pro bono” service and an important part of the Syracuse campus that provides representation to veterans and their families who are navigating legal affairs such as seeking VA benefits or upgrading a military discharge. Kubala retired from the U.S. Army at the rank of lieutenant colonel following 22 years of active service and was recently named one of six civilian aides to the Secretary of the Army.

Beth Kubala
Syeisha Byrd

Syeisha Byrd, engagesu@syr.edu

Director, Office of Engagement Programs at Hendricks Chapel

Here at Syracuse, Byrd is considered a true local—she grew up here and maintains close bonds with people and organizations all across the city. Byrd has more than 16 years of experience working with youth and youth organizations in Syracuse, and as the director of the Office of Engagement programs, she is able to connect students with the community that she loves. Each August, Byrd, in a partnership between Hendricks Chapel and OVMA, runs a pre-orientation called “Transitioning Military Veterans to University Life,” which provides incoming student veterans with the opportunity to meet peer student veterans, prepare for campus life and meet faculty and staff that will serve as resources throughout their time at Syracuse University. If you missed this year’s session, you can connect with her any time at Hendricks Chapel to learn more about what programs and services are available to you and get connected to other student veterans on campus.

Laura Buys, lebuys@syr.edu

Veterans Disability Services Liaison, Center for Disability Resources

2020 Tillman Scholar

Buys understands the challenges that can come with transitioning from service to higher education—she’s a student veteran herself (’19, G’21) and came to Syracuse after serving in the U.S. Air Force. As the veterans disability services liaison, Buys helps connect student veterans to the Center for Disability Resources and other community and campus wellness programs that aim to empower students, enhance equity and provide a platform for innovation and inclusion. She is passionate about helping veterans through her work and her goal is to continue making a positive impact by dismantling forms of social injustice and helping others overcome trauma. If you need anything related to disability services or have questions about what’s available, Buys is your go-to person. And make sure you ask her about being named the 2020 Tillman Scholar—she’s one of only 60 scholars to receive the prestigious scholarship, which is awarded to candidates from 15 Pat Tillman Foundation-recognized University Partners.

Laura buys

Kate Untiedt

Kate Untiedt, Katherine.Untiedt@va.gov

VetSuccess on Campus Counselor, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Untiedt is a vocational rehabilitation counselor with the VetSuccess on Campus (VSOC) program from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and helps student veterans with exploring career goals, connecting to VA benefits and services and tapping into community resources. VSOC helps veterans, service members and their qualified dependents succeed and thrive through a coordinated delivery of on-campus benefits assistance and counseling, referring service members, veterans and dependents as need

Jolynn Parker, jmpark02@syr.edu

Director, Center for Fellowship and Scholarship Advising (CFSA)

Scholarships are a critical part of paying for college for many students, but determining which opportunities you’re eligible for, keeping track of and meeting deadlines, and standing out from other candidates can be intimidating. As the director of the Center for Fellowship and Scholarship Activities (CFSA), Parker helps students through the entire process. From brainstorming early drafts to advising students as they finalize their applications, Parker provides student veterans with unparalleled support. She can also help you identify opportunities specifically for veterans like the Tillman Scholar program, which supports eligible military service members, veterans and spouses with academic scholarships, leadership development opportunities, and a national network so they are empowered to make an impact in a wide variety of fields. Find out what opportunities are waiting for you by connecting with Parker.

Jolynn Parker
Charlie Poag

Charlie Poag, cpoag@syr.edu

President, Student Veterans Organization (SVO)

Poag can help you learn what success as a student veteran can look like. He is a senior in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and president of the Student Veterans Organization (SVO). Before studying at Syracuse, he served more than 16 years in the U.S. Marine Corps as a communications strategy and operations chief. As president of the SVO, Poag helps student veterans through their transition to higher education and shares strategies for success and becoming part of the wider Syracuse University community. He encourages student veterans to get involved by attending an SVO event or meeting. Learn more about the SVO and

Dan Rubio, pave@syr.edu

Team Leader, Peer Advisors for Veteran Education (PAVE)

Your peers at Syracuse can provide you with some of the best advice about campus life. That’s where Peer Advisors for Veteran Education (PAVE) and PAVE Team Leader Rubio can help. Rubio is a junior dual majoring in biology with an environmental focus. As team leader, Rubio is an ambassador for the program, which is 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. If you’re interested in getting connected with or becoming a PAVE peer advisor, Rubio is here to help.

Dan Rubio