VanCoug veteran stories
- Graduation ‘an emotional day’—Veterans are among our graduates.
- What I am—A student veteran's story.
- Student veteran bios
Get dialed in with veterans active on campus. The Veterans Club holds events throughout the year, including recreation activities and opportunities to network, volunteer and build comradery.
Like the WSU Vancouver Veterans on Facebook and check CougSync to stay up to date.
Veteran supportive campus
WSU Vancouver is a veteran supportive campus, as designated by the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs. The following resources are available for military-connected students:
- Veterans Coordinator—The primary contact at the university for everything related to Veterans’ Affairs.
- Veterans Club—A student club that holds events throughout the year, including recreation activities and opportunities to network, volunteer and build comradery among other students.
- Peer Mentors—Current student veterans mentor new students to help with their transition to the university.
- Veterans Center—A place for veterans to hang out, enjoy free coffee, use the computers and more.
- Priority enrollment—Veterans and spouses register for classes before other students.
- ROAR Orientation for veterans—An opportunity to learn about VA educational benefits, resources, and meet other military-connected students on campus.
- Tuition waivers—Washington residents with an honorable discharge may qualify for partial tuition waivers.
- Access Center—Services and accommodations for qualified students with disabilities, psychological or medical conditions, or temporary injuries that limit access to school.
- Counseling Services—Individual, group, and crisis counseling, and psychological testing.
- Health Services—Basic health care services such as treatment of acute illness and injuries, physical exams, immunizations, medication evaluations and prescriptions.
- Free tutoring for students receiving VA educational benefits
- Paid VA work-study positions
Chandra (Veteran Peer Mentor)
Hello there! My name is Chandra (CHAN-druh). I was in the US Navy for about 4 years serving as an Information Systems Technician and finished off my service as an IT2 in San Diego, CA. Prior to the Navy, I was like any other high school graduate: I went to college full time, held down a job, and was looking into what my future held. For the longest time I had wanted to go into medicine whether that be within the nursing field or as a doctor, however life does not always lead us down a straight and narrow path. During my time in the Navy, I really began to lose and then rediscover myself all over again. I rekindled my passion for Fine Arts, and also thought, “Maybe there is a way I can combine science and art and find a happy medium.” Turns out I was correct. Along with wanting to go to WSU for the potential research opportunities, the PNW serves as a gold mine for opportunities in the arts as well. Hopefully upon graduating from WSU with a major in Biology and minor in Fine Arts, I will continue to pursue further my Master’s in Fine Arts and enter into the Medical/Scientific Illustration field to follow.
One thing that has stood out most since transferring to WSU is the endless support in all faucets of my education and well-being. The teachers I have had, and connections I have only began to make, I know will be that of a lifetime. WSU-Vancouver truly honors that sense of community, and it lets me know I made the absolute right decision to pursue my higher education here. If I were to give advice to prospective students or even students who may be struggling with that transition period, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Not only do you have myself and other peer mentors as a resource/listening ear, but there are excellent counselors on campus that are there for you with same day appointment availability and the capability of serving you on a longer-term basis. No problem is too small, so don’t try to face this new hurdle alone. We are all here to help one another be the best we can be and to succeed as students, future professionals, and as members of the PNW community! You can reach me at email@example.com.
Seth (Veteran Peer Mentor)
Hello, my name is Seth Moberly and I am currently seeking a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science. I served 7 ½ years of my planned career in the United States Marines. I was medically retired after sustaining wounds from one of my many combat tours. I began my service as a Mortarman in the infantry with 1st Battalion, 7th Marines where I took part in freeing the Iraqi people from the tyrannical regime of Saddam Hussein. I re-enlisted as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician (EOD) where I was responsible for disposing of or rendering safe over 5700 explosive devices, three crashed helicopters, multiple bomb-making factories, and teaching over 200,000 Marines, soldiers, and sailors, techniques to improve their survivability in hostile environments, including Marine martial arts instruction.
I initially wanted to seek out a degree when I was medically retired from service but was told by my Veteran’s counselor and mental health professionals that my disabilities would make higher education an impossibility. They told me, “You will not succeed at college, so don’t even attempt it.” As these were the ‘professionals’ that knew what they were talking about, in my opinion, I accepted this as my fate and gave up on my dream of becoming more than the manual laborer I currently worked as. As my body degraded more and more from the years of tough labor, I realized that I needed to try again at bettering myself. I already was a certified OSHA site safety inspector and Supervisor, so I figured I should try an area I was already very familiar with. So, here I am. I’ve taken pride in being on the honor roll every term but one and cannot deny that those ‘professionals’ many years ago were VERY wrong. Your mind can grow and learn better than we can ever understand it. I chose WSU over other schools due to the friendliness of the staff, willingness to help me throughout the process, and the reviews WSU got from my fellow veterans. The veteran programs are exactly what I was looking for and the camaraderie is very real not only between veterans but also staff and students.
In a perfect world, I would love to use my Environmental Science degree to find solutions to sustainable food production and environmental stewardship practices, not only on a large scale but individuals as well. Providing information is critical to increase understanding and fixing the ecosystem issues seen today.
I have found the willingness of most teachers at WSU to help teach a difficult subject in different ways to ensure understanding by the students to be the most helpful. The most informative teachers that I look up to for their conduct and ability to make the course fun would currently have to be, Dr. Carol Siegel, Dr. Adenike Otoikhian, Professor Justin Allen, and Dr. Paul Krouss. If you are not understanding something, ask. If you still do not understand it, ask again. If you need help with work or a concept, use the Quantitative Skill Center and Writing Center. They are very helpful and won’t look down at you for it. In the words of Mark Amend, “Be strong enough to stand alone, smart enough to know when you need help, and brave enough to ask for it.” You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My professional goal is to be hired as a Fish and Game Warden with either Washington or Idaho after graduation. Fish and Wildlife is a competitive field that requires skills to make you more marketable. With my background in the Army combined with a bachelor’s in Biology, I can cover a large sector of valuable skills sought after in the workforce. Through my degree, I hope to gain a greater understanding of how wildlife conservation is managed, based on the research conducted by Biologists. Aside from my biology classes, the most useful course I have taken is Public Speaking in a Digital Age. I have used the skills from this class more than any other course I have taken while at WSU Vancouver.
Working for the Office of Student Involvement as the Outdoor Intern has opened my eyes to the world of outdoor recreation. Having the opportunity to lead recreation trips for the campus has given me a new perspective on the outdoors and is something I will always remember. My advice to other students is to get involved with your campus. There are countless clubs and groups for everyone that provide incredible networking opportunities that may be beneficial in your future careers.
The eight years I spent active duty showed me many beautiful places, allowed me to interact with many fascinating people, and ultimately made my future career goals crystal clear. In the Air Force, I was a parachute rigger for Air Force special operations personnel, and I also had the responsibility to instruct and train many airmen on equipment and life-saving procedures. The most rewarding part of my job was the instructor role; I genuinely enjoyed associating with people and decided to get into a career that allowed me to do just that. The decision to join Washington State’s proud organization was an easy one. The moment I took the campus tour and gazed upon Mount St. Helens and Mount Hood from WSU Vancouver’s trails and walkways, I knew I was right at home. WSU Vancouver provides large-school resources to a much smaller student body. The classes I attended in my first quarter were challenging; however, the instructors were smart and personable and were always willing to work a little extra to provide their students with the tools to succeed. My advice to any newcomers or veterans considering enrollment is this: as a veteran, we have a significant advantage over any other student. Veterans are not given any special privileges in class; however, the discipline, resiliency and determination that the military ingrains in every service member is the key to success here at WSU Vancouver. I hope you take that leap of faith and join me and my fellow veterans here at WSU Vancouver for a life-changing and rewarding experience.
Master’s in Teaching
I’ve always wanted to be a scientist because of all of the nature shows I watched as a child! I wanted to teach after I graduated high school when I noticed a lack of representation. I was in love with the area and I knew WSU was a highly respected school and a degree from WSU would make me more marketable. I hope with my degrees that I can become a high school biology teacher.
My favorite course was Ecology with Jonah Piovia-Scott. He was a very engaging and fun instructor. My most rewarding experience is the time I spent in the research lab and also connecting with other vets on campus. My advice to other students is, study study study. It’s going to get tough, it’s going to feel impossible at times, you’re going to want to quit. DON’T. Remember why you started, where you don’t wanna be, and push through. Use your resources, email the hell out of your teachers, go to office hours, get a tutor!
Human Development, Class of 2017
Hi, I’m Ben. I graduated from WSU Vancouver in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in Biology. I was once a medic in the Army. I chose WSU Vancouver partly because it’s close to home and family, but also because the campus is pretty awesome and dog-friendly which is important because my service dog, Scout attended class with me. The transition into higher education was a pretty big hurdle for me, so I enjoyed helping other veterans while I was a student. My advice to students is to schedule your study time as you would work hours. It helps you keep up on your studies.
Business Administration (Accounting), Class of 2020
Hi, everyone. I was a flight-equipment technician in the Marine Corps for eight and a half years before starting classes at WSU Vancouver. I chose WSU Vancouver mainly because it is close to home, which makes it easier to balance school, work and family life. One of the many things I enjoy about WSU Vancouver is that everyone is always more than willing to help in any way they can. It was hard to acclimate to the level of difficulty of class assignments. More than once, students I did not even know offered assistance. It was because they helped me understand the content in classes that I have been able to get this far. After I graduate, I plan to work as a personal financial adviser and help others see their money work for them so that they don’t have to work so hard for it. My advice to new students is to use all resources on campus as much as possible, from instructors’ office hours to the Quantitative Skill Center. They are there to benefit you.
Psychology, Class of 2018
Hi everyone! My name is Jared, and I’m an Air Force veteran. I spent the majority of my military career working and maintaining the B52h Bombers at Minot AFB, ND. WSU Vancouver was my first choice because of the reputable Psychology and Science programs. I wanted to go to a smaller campus and that’s my favorite part about WSU Vancouver. I had the opportunity to develop connections with my professors and that has facilitated greater learning potential and career progression. I worked as a VA Work Study which allowed me to meet a lot of people and get involved on campus. My advice to students is to apply for financial aid by filing the FAFSA on time. Especially veterans, you can use both financial aid and VA benefits, so take advantage of it!
Public Affairs, Class of 2019
If you’re reading this, you have more spare time than I do—and good for you. I retired from a 23-year career as a Cavalry Scout in the U.S. Army and Washington Army National Guard. That means I trained to find people, explore and map necessary routes in unknown environments, and that I responded to domestic emergencies such as hurricanes, woodland fires and rioting. I also ran and taught several courses at military academies in Yakima and Fort Lewis, Wash. When I decided I wanted to do something else in our community, it made sense to study public affairs (basically political science decaffeinated) and plan to work as a bureaucrat for one of many wonderful government agencies that provide citizens with goodies and services, while chasing a city council position after graduating. Ultimately, I would like to be the city manager of one of the smaller communities in Clark County. I grew up in the suburban outskirts of Tacoma and, after living in Seattle, my wife and I moved to her hometown of Battle Ground, where we have a wonderful home for our daughter and her nine pet chickens. I love the small classes, beautiful campus, and being able to connect one-on-one with faculty here at WSU Vancouver. This is truly an opportunity unlike any other in the Portland metro area. So, in the words of my three-year-old, “Go Cougs, everybody!”
Human Development, Class of 2019
Hello, everyone! I served in the Army for over eight years as a human resources NCO (42A3O). I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in human development and a certificate in human resources. After medically retiring from the Army, I was unsure of how to make my military career work for me in the civilian world, so I sought advice on what to do and where to go to accomplish my goals. Rather than attend an online college, I decided to attend in person, and WSU Vancouver was my first choice. I chose this university because it is close to home, and that makes attending more enjoyable. They also have the best program that builds on what I already know, and also provides tons of extra information I can use in my next career. Plus, I can create new connections. Upon graduation I plan to continue my HR career. My advice to incoming students is to take the time to read materials from class and take advantage of everything the school has to offer for your success. For veterans, please use your benefits—you have earned them!
Elementary Education, Class of 2018
While attending WSU Vancouver, the faculty and staff provided me with encouragement and support to develop the skills I needed to be successful. The College of Education gave me the opportunity to build the skills needed to become Restorative Justice Specialist at Portland Public Schools. I learned the power of teaching students how to advocate for themselves and others. I learned the importance of a well-structured classroom, with high expectations as well as building a learning community where the students feel valued and supported. I learned the value of having hard conversations surrounding social justice in education with adults, students and families.
Social Sciences (HR and Personnel Psychology), Class of 2021
Hello, everyone. I am a senior majoring in human resource management/personnel psychology. Before attending college I served 22 years in the United States Marine Corps. Among my military assignments, I served as a senior enlisted advisor, Marine Corps martial arts instructor, detachment commander as a Marine security guard at American embassies, team leader of the Military Security Force for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon, bandmaster and musician. I also served three tours in combat with the 1st Marine Division. I chose WSU Vancouver for its excellent reputation, gorgeous campus, proximity and small school feel, even though it is a major university. I enjoy the quality and professionalism of the professors. Classes are engaging because the professors are committed not only to helping students understand the subject material but also to applying the knowledge outside the classroom. My advice to new students is to develop solid time management skills for studying. I have found it extremely helpful to have a daily and weekly plan for staying on top of school studies. Make a point never to fall behind in any of your classes!