Now that student veterans have a dedicated space on campus to meet, they have begun to participate in a mentoring program, community engagement activities, and an expanded set of career workshops co-coordinated with the Career Center at Truckee Meadows Community College.
More than 600 student veteran visits were logged at the Veterans Resource Center (VRC) during Fall Semester, either from students stopping in at the Center, meeting in committees or being involved in new programs and workshops.
“With veteran-specific events and workshops, as well as direct connection with faculty mentors and dedicated staff, student veterans have experienced the largest support system that we have ever had in place,” said Zack Totans, Veterans Coordinator.
New this year are two programs – the Veteran Leadership Academy and a student veteran mentoring program.
“The first semester of both the Student Veteran Mentor Program and the Veteran Leadership Academy has had a big impact on campus,” Totans said. “Through the donation from the Nevada Military Support Alliance (NMSA), the TMCC VRC has been able to assist over 50 student veterans in reaching specific educational goals as well as professional and leadership development.”
Student Veteran Mentor Program
The student veteran mentor program provides an opportunity for 50 of TMCC’s student veterans to get connected with a faculty mentor, and to receive assistance with the cost of books and materials.
The VRC identified candidates to serve as veteran faculty and staff mentors at three different TMCC sites.
- Virginia Castleman, English Instructor, Meadowood Center
- Jeremy Schachter, Associate, Financial Aid, Dandini Campus
- Mark Sharp, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Instructor, Applied Technology Center
Each of these staff members serve as a mentor for up to 20 veterans, meeting with the students at their primary TMCC site location.
Through the mentor program, the VRC is able to broaden its reach to the approximately 550 veterans who currently attend TMCC.
Veteran Leadership Academy
The Veteran Leadership Academy (VLA) is a group of 10 student veterans who are dedicated to serving both college and community. They have decided to focus their efforts for this academic year on community projects with Disabled American Veterans (DAV) and outdoor clean-up in the Truckee Meadows. VLA members have attended at least three community events as a volunteer, as well as their group’s organizational meetings, Totans said.
The first event was at the Reno chapter of the DAV. TMCC student veterans helped serve food to homeless residents of Reno-Sparks on Nov. 20 and Dec. 18.
To come is an outdoor community litter pick-up day that the VLA will be organizing and conducting later in the Spring Semester.
“The 10 individuals in the VLA have proven that they are outstanding examples of student veterans who are not only excelling academically, but are also leaders that put the needs of others before their own,” Totans said.
March Veteran Events and Workshops
A series of veteran-specific workshops are underway during March. Each event is open to all past and present student veterans and their dependents who are attending TMCC.
So far this semester, TMCC veterans already held a welcome back to school event on Feb. 9, a tour of the Tutoring and Learning Center (TLC) with Adine Stormoen, TLC’s Co-Coordinator on March 1, and two other workshops.
A LinkedIn workshop is being held on Friday, March 11 from 2-4 p.m. in Red Mountain Building, room 115. Kelley Wong from the Career Center will cover how to create a professional LinkedIn profile. This online professional networking platform is often the first place employers look for qualified job candidates, she said.
Wong will also lead a business card and networking workshop for veterans on Friday, March 18 from 10 a.m.-noon in Red Mountain Building, room 115. Participants will have in hand a set of personalized business cards at the conclusion of the session.
The Reno Vet Center and V.I.T.A.L. Initiative will present on March 22, Maximizing Resources, a practical discussion on issues facing veterans as they transition to school and civilian career. Common misconceptions and potential obstacles that veterans sometimes face transitioning to civilian life will be covered in this session. An additional Maximizing Resources session is scheduled for May 5.
Upcoming Veteran Events
More workshops and events in April and May include:
- Business card workshop on Apr. 5.
- Engage, on Apr. 15: a buffet breakfast followed by keynote speaker and open-floor networking.
- Veterans Professional Development Day on Apr. 15: career and financial breakout sessions, preparation for Veterans Job and Resource Fair, and free barbeque.
- Interview workshop on Apr. 20
- Veterans Resource Fair on Apr. 29: includes 40-45 booths of veteran-related resources and employers who would like to hire veterans.
- Protect Your Brand workshop on May 4: building online personal brand and effective use of social media for professional networking.
Contact the VRC for more information.