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Student Veterans: Tapping into a Valuable Resource

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Understanding the Military Veteran's Human Resource Needs - Transition from Military Service to the Engineering Profession

Tagged Division

Military and Veterans Constituent Committee

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


B. Grant Crawford Quinnipiac University

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Grant Crawford, PhD, P.E., is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Quinnipiac University and the former Director of the Mechanical Engineering Program at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. He graduated from West Point in 1985 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering. He earned a Master of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1994 and a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Kansas in 2004. He has taught courses in aeronautics, thermal-fluid systems, heat transfer, computer-aided design, and aerospace and mechanical engineering design. He is a licensed Professional Engineer and is a rated pilot in both rotary and fixed wing aircraft.

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Jason B Burke Quinnipiac University

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Jason Burke is currently the Director of Veteran and Military Affairs at Quinnipiac University serving current and potential student veterans both on and off campus. He is a 1988 graduate from the U. S. Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science degree in Oceanography and a graduate from the U.S. Naval War College with a Master of Arts degree in National Strategic Studies. Jason was a naval aviator for over 25 years until retiring as a Navy Captain in January 2013 with over 4100 flight hours and 370 aircraft carrier landings. His final Navy tour was an Associate Professor at the U.S. Naval War College in the National Security Affairs Department.

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As force reductions in our military increase over the next four years coupled with the outstanding education benefits provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), student veteran populations will continue to rise. This non-traditional student population offers an outstanding opportunity for schools to utilize a unique set of knowledge, skills and life experiences that can enhance the traditional classroom. Administrators, faculty members, and traditional students can get the greatest benefits from these traits only if they are aware of them and how they can be most effectively used.

At the same time, the veteran student may have unique challenges that must be addressed to take full advantage of this valuable resource. Universities are best served when they can recognize these challenges and learn how to best accommodate the administrative, medical and functional needs unique to veterans. Administrators and faculty members should also be aware of the unique resources that are available to these students.

The comprehensive Post 9/11 GI Bill and the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) benefits enable veterans to attend private schools they normally could not afford. This non-traditional student population growth should cause schools to take a more holistic view of their services. This is especially true for private universities, tailored to the traditional student. Student veterans are often balancing work and family and now find themselves navigating unfamiliar territory applying for both the school and their education benefits, outside of the routine support system provided by parents and other family members. This can result in a higher level of anxiety that may be compounded if the veteran has Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or neuropsychological affects from Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

Schools that offer support for student veterans glean the leadership, maturity, work ethic and life experiences of these individuals. Understanding and enabling the professional military culture on campus allows for the transfer of these traits to traditional students. It also fosters the growth of camaraderie amongst student veterans, increases retention of this demographic, and enhances their performance and success.

This paper will discuss some of the most common trials faced by this group and present the resources that are available to assist with overcoming these challenges. It will also discuss the unique strengths possessed by these students and suggest ways in which the faculty member can capitalize on these strengths and enhance the educational experience of all students.

Crawford, B. G., & Burke, J. B. (2016, June), Student Veterans: Tapping into a Valuable Resource Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25933

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