For nearly six decades, Syracuse University’s military visual journalism program has prepared service members to tell stories through compelling imagery and video.

When retired staff sergeant and aerial combat photojournalist Stacy Pearsall entered the U.S. Air Force, her only experience with a camera came from a high school photography class. She honed her craft while attending the military visual journalism program at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.

The Department of Defense-sponsored program welcomes active-duty service members who study military photojournalism or military motion media for 10 months, earning 30 credits and a certificate. To date, more than 1,000 military personnel have graduated and gone on to successful careers in the service, in television, at the Pentagon and with other outlets.

The program started in 1963 when Newhouse photography professor and Air Force veteran Fred Demarest received a call from the U.S. Navy about training their personnel to become better photojournalists. “This program is for enlisted service members, some on the cusp of making military service a career and some have already made that commitment,” says retired Col. Ron Novack, executive director of the Office of Veteran and Military Affairs. “We make sure that they are part of the Orange family and our office helps to create that sense of belonging.”