No One Left Behind – A Discussion About Educational Support and Services for Veterans and Their Family Members

Making the transition from military to civilian life can be daunting. In the latest podcast from the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation’s Arizona committee, officials from Arizona State University and the University of Arizona discuss the programs they have in place to ease that transition and give veterans — and family members of veterans — the support they need to reach their life goals.

No veteran — or family member of a veteran — walks alone when it comes to pursuing educational goals. Some outstanding support networks exist in Arizona. Officials with the ASU Pat Tillman Center and UofA’s Veterans Education and Transition Services discuss the power of community and engagement.

The Veterans Education and Transition Services (VETS) program at The University of Arizona was created to provide a comprehensive set of services to ensure that students successfully transition to the university environment, are retained, graduate, and obtain meaningful employment. Student support is viewed through four lenses: Engage, Educate, Empower, and Employ. The program welcomes all military-connected students, including spouses and dependents, that are seeking to engage with others that share similar life experiences.

Bruce Grissom is a 1990 graduate of The University of Arizona and was commissioned through the Naval ROTC program. A Surface Warfare Officer, he has deployed globally in multiple shipboard roles on frigates, destroyers, and amphibious assault ships.

His shore and staff assignments include being the Chief of Staff to the director of Combined Multinational Naval Training Force-Iraq as well as other operational training roles. In 2011, Bruce returned to The University of Arizona as Executive Officer for the Naval ROTC program and retired as a commander after more than 23 years of service.

Bruce remains engaged in campus life as the Director of the Veterans Education and Transition Services (VETS) program at The University of Arizona. In this role, he engages with all departments across campus in support of military-connected students.

At the Pat Tillman Veterans Center, they are committed to providing an empowering environment for student veterans, active military members, spouses and dependents as the foundation for their academic success. Their mission is to empower and engage ASU military and veteran community with their academic and personal success here at ASU and beyond. Since 2015, Shawn has been connected both through volunteer work and full-time staff at Arizona State University*. For two years he volunteered as the Chaplain for the Pat Tillman Veterans Center and was hired as the Senior Military Advocate for their center in 2017. He continues today as the sole Military Advocate for the over 10,000 military-affiliated students at the largest public institution in the US.

Center staff is comprised almost entirely of veterans so they know the language, the benefits process, and the transition from military to student life. You will find a friendly, supportive and familiar environment here, including computer study stations, a group meeting space, a lounge and fellow veterans.

They are here to help students navigate and succeed at ASU — with academic resources and transition services — in the spirit of service and dedication that is the legacy of Pat Tillman. They’ll be here from the student’s first contact with the university all the way until graduation.

Michelle Loposky served in the US Army and was a combat field medic who was deployed after the Bosnian war in the Stabilization Force humanitarian efforts in Bosnia and Herzegovina. She served four years and was stationed in Fort Hood, TX. She is currently the Assistant Director, Outreach & Engagement for the Pat Tillman Veterans Center at Arizona State University. In her role she develops, implements, and manages programming and events focused on student veteran recruitment, retention, success, and advocacy. She currently serves on the Tempe Veterans Commission.

For twenty-one years Shawn served the United States in the Army National Guard*. He retired as the acting First Sergeant of the 1057th Transportation Company. He is an Iraqi War Veteran, during which he earned the Bronze Star and Combat Action Badge during 100 combat missions in and around Baghdad, Ramadi and Fallujah. His unit, the 1074th Transportation Company, was awarded the Meritorious Unit Citation during their yearlong campaign. Training Soldiers was his passion and he was afforded the opportunity to train thousands of them during his military career. Shawn also brings nearly a decade of law enforcement experience and training to the team, as he served his community as a police sergeant before becoming a full-time pastor.

Continue Reading >