Military Family Research Institute caps year with awards to student veterans' groups
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The Military Family Research Institute (MFRI) at Purdue University awarded a total of $7,000 to four Indiana student veterans' organizations that are helping student service members and veterans successfully transition to higher education settings.
The grants, awarded Dec. 3 through MFRI's Operation Diploma initiative, ranged from $1,000-$2,000 and will be used to help student service members and veterans who are pursuing degrees at Indiana University Southeast, Purdue University, Indiana State University and Ivy Tech Community College Bloomington.
Operation Diploma is an MFRI initiative launched to support and strengthen Indiana's higher education institutions and student veterans' organizations (SVOs).
"MFRI is pleased to help support these student veterans' organizations and their leaders," said MFRI director Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth. "The work that they are doing on their associated campuses is positively impacting their peers and setting a great example for other SVOs."
In the category of established programs that could be enhanced or expanded with grant funds, the panel awarded top honors to the student veterans' organizations at the following universities:
* First place: IU Southeast, $2,000
* Second place: Purdue University, $2,000
* Third place: Indiana State University $1,000
Sam Schultz, sergeant-at-arms of the SVO at IU Southeast, looks forward to helping reintegrate student service members and veterans to the campus community with grant funds. He also appreciated the opportunity to network with other SVOs and their advisers.
"I really learned a lot listening to others and hearing their ideas. At all these SVO events that MFRI puts on, you're either networking or you're not working," he added, laughing.
"This is our sixth SVO competition," said Stacie Hitt, director of MFRI's Operation Diploma initiative. "Seuth Chaleunphonh, IU Southeast's adviser, has done an outstanding job of helping the SVO maintain exemplary initiatives in the face of changing student leadership. IU Southeast is a great example of how collaboration between administration and student organizations can work well."
In the category of new and emerging SVOs, the panel awarded top honors and a grant of $2,000 to the SVO associated with Ivy Tech Community College, Bloomington.
Proposals were evaluated according to criteria that included quality of mission, clarity of initiatives and a renewed sustainability. The judges were: Barney Wick, government customer account executive for Rolls-Royce Corporation; Emily Siefken, program manager for Illinois and Indiana Troops To Teachers; Rick St. John, student veteran peer mentor for Indiana University East; and Tammy Weaver-Stoike, senior marketing consultant for Purdue Marketing and Media.
Operation Diploma engages and educates higher education stakeholders on the issues surrounding student service members and veterans. Through this initiative, MFRI has since 2008 awarded nearly $2.4 million to higher education institutions and SVOs. Nearly $50,000 has been awarded directly to student veterans' organizations.
The Military Family Research Institute is a research and outreach organization based at Purdue and supported by Lilly Endowment Inc., the Department of Defense and others. To view top presentations by student veteran organizations and register for the upcoming April competition, visit the MFRI online at http://www.mfri.purdue.edu, select "Programs and Grants" and then choose "Grants."
Source: Michael F. Marn, MFRI director of communications, 765-496-6027, email@example.com