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
Business (Accounting and Finance)
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.
Business Administration (Entrepreneurship)
Hi there, I’m Erika. I served four years in the Air Force as a Logistics Planner where I worked overseas to plan and prepare my unit for Field Training Deployments (FTDs) as well as managing the base contingency plans and readiness programs. As a Logistics Planner, it was my responsibility to get my unit, their cargo, and the aircraft to the right location at the right time. After my four years in active duty, I transferred to the Air Force Reserves, moved here to Washington, and currently still serve a weekend each month. I chose to attend WSU Vancouver because they offer the resources of a large university while still maintaining a small community feel. The classes are smaller and more personal, giving students the best opportunity to learn, and there are plenty of ways to get involved on campus. My advice to students is to make a study and homework schedule for all of your classes at the beginning of each semester. I take the syllabus schedule from each class and make an Excel document that records when everything from every class is due, to include reading material, assignments, tests, and anything else the instructor may have listed. Knowing exactly when you need to get the work done can help you prepare and plan ahead for the busy weeks and the intense classes while also keeping you from falling behind. It can even help you get ahead!
Hello, everyone! I served in the Army for over eight years as a human resources NCO (42A3O). I am currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in human development with 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!
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.
Social Science (HR)
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!
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.
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!”
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.