November 7, 2019
Veterans and active-duty students pursue education, hopes this Veterans Day
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Morgan Torres can often be found working on homework, class projects and military drills at Purdue University.
The Veterans Success Center at Purdue is a place where both of her worlds meet. She is one of almost 1,000 students who are military veterans, active duty personnel or relatives of active-duty personnel or veterans.
The center helps transition veterans to campus, build a sense of camaraderie through the Purdue Student Veteran Organization, develop career search skills and assist with education benefits through the G.I. Bill.
Jamie Richards has served as director of the Veterans Success Center since 2012. He served six years in the U.S. Navy and then 14 years in the Navy Reserve. He understands what many veteran students are going through as he, himself, went back to school through the GI Bill to get his undergraduate degree while a reservist in the Navy.
“We support students in a variety of ways,” Richards says. “We understand that the transition from military to college can be difficult.”
As times and student populations change, so does the outreach to the veteran population.
“Over the past couple years, we have really become focused on helping students develop transitional leadership skills, find growth opportunities and, ultimately, help them connect with meaningful employment,” Richards said.
Torres, who is a senior in the College of Liberal Arts, has served in the U.S. Army Reserve for the past five years. She says the center has provided support and a lot of camaraderie, especially with her goal of becoming a lawyer after her time in the military.
“Joining the military was the best decision I’ve made in my life,” Torres says. “Before I signed up, I believed the military could help provide guidance to help my future.”
Torres also is president of the Purdue Student Veteran Organization and can be found with other veteran students doing a variety of mission-oriented service projects around the community.
“You’re taking care of one of your own. That’s what you’re taught in the military,” she says.
Writer: Matthew Oates, 765-496-2571, email@example.com, @mo_oates
Source: Jamie Richards, 765-494-7638, firstname.lastname@example.org, @dogtagspurdue
Note to Journalists: For interviews with veteran students or active-duty students, please contact Richards at email@example.com. Richards also can talk about the Veterans Success Center.