Campus Launches New Center for Veterans, Adult Students
DuBois – Penn State DuBois has partnered with Veterans Services of Clearfield County to better prepare veterans for life after military service. By establishing the Office of Adult Student and Veteran Services at Penn State DuBois, campus and county personnel will provide these former service members with the tools they need to succeed in higher education and in a career.
"Any way I can help them, I will," said Veteran's Services Coordinator Sueann Doran, whose husband is also a veteran. "Education is important, especially when coming out of the military and back into civilian life. Education really gives you the edge. With so many people coming out of the military and looking to start new lives now, we see a real need for this and we want to fill that need."
The ways in which Doran and others will help include programs they'll offer to help veterans, who may have been out of school for many years, get used to being students again. Refresher courses in basic subjects and tutoring programs are designed to sharpen their skills, while counselors will provide assistance with scheduling, financial aid, and other clerical processes that may be new to a soldier-turned-student.
Other services offered to student veterans through the campus' partnership with Clearfield County Veteran's Affairs will provide assistance not just for items relevant to their education, but lifestyle and readjustment help as well.
"Veterans may already be coming home with things like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and the pressure of school, and possibly a job on top of that can take its toll," said Clearfield County Director of Veteran's Affairs Domenick Kurtz. He said student veterans with a need for counseling will be able to take advantage of the services of the DuBois Veteran's Center located across Route 255 from the campus, at 100 Meadow Lane. Referral information for the center will be available on campus, as well. Veterans are welcome to visit the center for counseling at any time.
"We have a unique opportunity with this facility so close to the campus," said Kurtz. The counselors are right there, and they can help veterans struggling with PTSD, or any number of other issues. They even take walk-ins throughout the day."
Kurtz said he, Doran, and other team members will also educate returning veterans on all services available to them through the county, state, and US government that can help to ease the burden of tuition and other financial concerns.
"Things like the new GI Bill are a great deal for veterans and we want them to take advantage of it all," Kurtz said. "They may not be aware of all the benefits that are available to them, so we want to make sure they're getting everything they're entitled to."
Penn State DuBois student veteran Mike Yakich said the center will be a tremendous help to all veterans who choose to pursue an education at the campus. He said, "I think this is great. It is so nice to know that all of that information is available right here. A lot of the time you know that you have benefits available, but don't know how to get them, so this will really help." Yakich spent 22 years in the United States Navy before returning to college to study wildlife technology.
"In this economy, education is the light at the end of the tunnel for the men and women who have served, Kurtz said, summing up his excitement for the program. "We want to help them make the most of it. The program we're launching here will be a template for how it should be at college campuses everywhere."