MISSION – What We Do to Support You!
Veteran Career Services is a full-spectrum career services center that is exclusively dedicated to supporting the career pathways of veteran and military-connected students by way of career advising and development, employer relations and engagement, programs and events, resources, enterprise technologies, mentorship, alumni engagement, data collection, and outcomes reports.
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Jennifer Pluta, Director of Veteran Career Services
In her role as Director of Veteran Career Services at Syracuse University, Jennifer Pluta is responsible for managing the strategic, operational, budget, and personnel functions that support the career pathways of student veterans. As the Director, Pluta provides leadership and direction for comprehensive career services that directly support the Office of Veteran and Military Affairs’ mission and the commitment of Syracuse University to be the “The Best Place for Veterans ™.” In addition, Pluta manages and oversees student veterans’ success, graduate outcomes, career exploration, and employment pursuits; liaising between employers, University departments, students, and colleges; maintaining and developing new employer contacts and providing career expertise.
Prior to this role, Pluta served in several positions at Syracuse University Office of Career Services including overseeing the University’s internship program, and services as an Employer Relations Coordinator, Special Events Coordinator, and Mentorship Coordinator.
Pluta has over 20 years of experience working and leading initiatives in the career services and veteran spaces at the local, state, and national levels. Area of highlights include serving as the President of the Syracuse University Veteran Employee Affinity Group, CO-Lead National Association of Colleges Veteran Affinity Group, Chair of Syracuse University Career Services Network, and Chair Employer Relations Group. Finally, Pluta has presented at numerous conferences and has written original content for publication.
With over 24 years in the United States Army Reserve, Pluta currently serves as a First Sergeant for the 2nd/389th 3rd BDE 98th DIV. As the Company 1SG, Pluta oversees the training, readiness, and execution of all unit missions, ensuring soldiers are mentored and provided guidance and support in their professional growth and career advancement.
Pluta has served over 18 years as an Army Reserve Career Counselor (ARCC) for the Army Reserve Careers Group and as a Senior Army Reserve Career Counselor for the 76th ORC. In these roles, Pluta, led, managed, and evaluated personnel and programs; developed and directed reenlistment and transition programs; conducted conferences, trainings, seminars, inspections, and relationship management. Pluta enlisted in the US Army Reserve in 1999 attached to the 770th EN CO and deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom in ‘03- ‘04.
Pluta holds a B.A. in Sociology from Alfred University and an M.S. in Higher Education Administration from Syracuse University. She is a certified Master of Career Services, and Global Career Development Facilitator, and completed the National Career Development Association Career Development Facilitator Course.
Kim Leonard, Veteran Career Services Coordinator
Kim Leonard is a seasoned professional with a diverse background, most recently excelling as the Health and Wellness Director at the Hal Welsh East Area YMCA, before coming to Syracuse University to work in her current role as the Veteran Career Services Coordinator. With over two decades of experience, she was a key player in overseeing a dynamic team of 55 staff members and governing all aspects of the department, including program development, event planning and budget administration.
Before her impactful career at the YMCA, Kim served proudly in the U.S. Army from 1999 to 2001. During her military tenure, she specialized in Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Warfare and Detection, holding the position of L4 in the BIDS Unit. Her military experience instilled a sense of discipline, leadership, and strategic thinking that she brings to her current role.
Kim holds an Associate’s Degree in Nutrition from Erie County Community College and has experience as a Nutrition Director for a Nursing Home/Rehabilitation Center. She managed kitchen operations, controlled budgets, and implemented nutrition interventions for residents.
Kim and her husband, Sam, are proud parents to Dominic and Sophie. In her off hours, Kim channels her enthusiasm for health and wellness into running and triathlon. She has completed three marathons and two 70.3 half ironman races. Possessing an RRCA Run Coach certification, she coaches runners and guides them toward the fulfillment of their goals and aspirations.Top of Form