Friday, August 31, 2012

From the battlefield to the classroom - News@Northeastern

Incoming student veterans (left to right) Brandon Wilson, Alexander Cho and Bryan Belice participate in a roundtable discussion during orientation on Thursday. Wilson served in the United States Navy for eight years, making stops in Japan, Thailand and Australia. Photo by Mary Knox Merrill.

Incoming stu­dent vet­eran Brandon Wilson served in the United States Navy for eight years, making stops in Japan, Thai­land and Australia.

“I have a unique per­spec­tive from having been exposed to so many dif­ferent cul­tures around the world,” Wilson explained, noting his affable, open-​​minded nature.

His global expe­ri­ence, he said, will make it easy for him to assim­i­late into the North­eastern stu­dent body, approx­i­mately 13 per­cent of which is inter­na­tional. As the crim­inal jus­tice major put it, “I’m looking for­ward to being part of dif­ferent social groups in a non­mil­i­tary environment.”

Wilson par­tic­i­pated in a round­table dis­cus­sion among a dozen stu­dent vet­erans on Thursday after­noon in the Curry Stu­dent Center as part of the university’s ori­en­ta­tion pro­gram for new stu­dents. The meet and greet fol­lowed an hour­long event focusing on finan­cial plan­ning for incoming veterans.

The fed­eral government’s Yellow Ribbon Pro­gram, which oper­ates in con­junc­tion with the Depart­ment of Vet­erans Affairs, cur­rently pro­vides free tuition to roughly 120 North­eastern stu­dent vet­erans who have served in the post-​​9/​11 era. A change in the program’s funding struc­ture will enable North­eastern to enroll as many as 252 stu­dent vet­erans begin­ning this fall.

Michael Trudeau, a polit­ical sci­ence major and the cur­rent pres­i­dent of Northeastern’s chapter of Stu­dent Vet­erans of America, attended the ori­en­ta­tion ses­sion to intro­duce him­self to the university’s new class of stu­dent veterans.

Prior to the event, the U.S. Navy vet­eran dis­cussed the variety of uni­ver­sity orga­ni­za­tions and activ­i­ties avail­able to the new­comers. “Our mis­sion,” he said, “is to bring vet­erans together to build a social net­work that will ulti­mately help them achieve great success.”

The SVO, he added, “pro­vides an outlet for vet­erans to come together in a familiar envi­ron­ment to share sto­ries and get the most out of the North­eastern experience.”

The uni­ver­sity is com­mitted to helping vet­erans ease the tran­si­tion from mil­i­tary to col­le­giate life. Northeastern’s Career Ser­vices office, for example, which has received best-​​in-​​the-​​nation acco­lades from The Princeton Review, held a spring­time resume-​​writing work­shops for stu­dent vet­erans. In the future, the work­shop will likely take place at least once per semester.

Maria Stein, the university’s director of career ser­vices, sin­gled out stu­dent vet­erans for bringing expert com­mu­ni­ca­tion and mul­ti­tasking skills to the workplace.

“Stu­dent vet­erans have proven their lead­er­ship in very stressful sit­u­a­tions and by per­forming under pres­sure,” she explained in a recent inter­view. “They have a very strong work ethic.”

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