Returning veterans receive education and transitional support

Kim Brown

Returning student veterans received a different kind of welcoming yesterday.

The Adult Student Center hosted an informational session for military veterans to help ease their education transition at Kent State.

The “Open House for Recently Returning Veterans” is offered for student veterans to help reconnect with the university and community. This is the first time it was offered this semester, but other sessions have previously been held.

“This is meant to help the veterans build a connection and establish a continuing emphasis to assist with the transition,” said LuWanda Higgins, Adult Student Center program coordinator.

Higgins said the sessions are meant to provide returning veterans with useful information such as campus familiarity, scholarships, advising services and basic education and career concern. She said the Adult Student Center is a connecting point on the Kent State campus to help with student development and succeeding in their “academic journey.”

The session addressed personal concerns and questions such as receiving adequate advising and out-of-state tuition transfer.

Theresa Gavalya, clinical licensed social worker for the Veterans’ Center in Cleveland Heights, explained how the center is available to the community for easy access.

“Sometimes transition feels wonderful, but sometimes you can also get a little stressed out in school,” she said. “We are here to make a welcome for you and make you feel comfortable.”

Gavalya provided information about free health care and support groups for stress and time management.

Joshua Rider, Veterans Affairs Certifying Official for Kent State, answered questions concerning financial aid and eligibility for the Montgomery GI bill benefit for student veterans.

Joyce Wall, Adult Student Center adviser, said it is important veterans know they have a place to go for help.

“The more information we can give the veterans, the better,” she said. “Not only do we want to help them as students but help them as people. They’ve been serving us so it’s time we serve them.”

The attending student veterans responded with positive feedback to services.

“Everybody’s been pretty helpful, and everything has gone smoothly,” said Rob Danzo, a junior integrated social science major. “We get to meet the people that can help give us an opportunity to get some questions answered and receive help,” he said. Danzo served in the Navy from 1997 to 2005.

Danzo said he hasn’t had many hardships in his transition since service, and the main concern is paying for tuition, housing and food.

Travis Amos, first-year exercise science major, said he’s had an overall easy transition.

“My experience has been good. It’s just getting back into the college life again that’s different, but I haven’t had many problems adjusting since I’ve been back,” he said.

Amos served in the Marine Corps in Afghanistan and Iraq. He was discharged last May.

Wall said it is important for veterans to connect with one another as resources and support, whether it’s for college or family life.

Contact student affairs reporter Kim Brown at [email protected].