Texas A&M Awarded For Excellence In Veteran Education
Texas A&M University has been selected as a Gold Recipient of the 2021 Veteran Education Excellence Award (VEERA) by the Texas Veterans Commission (TVC).
The award recognizes institutions of higher education for providing excellence in education and related services to student veterans and has three levels of recognition: Gold, Silver and Bronze.
Gold recipients must receive a minimum overall evaluation score of 90 percent on their application and quality of student veteran related programs and services. A total of 14 institutions were awarded recognition status; nine gold, three silver and two bronze.
“We have served student veterans since 1919 and have long been committed to assisting students who are veterans, active duty, military dependents and survivors,” said Nora Cargo, director of scholarships and veteran services. “Providing the best possible education, resources, and support for our veteran students is truly a campus-wide, collaborative endeavor. Both the Aggie spirit and our core values drive our efforts, and the result is our ability to both serve and lead.”
With two dedicated offices providing services to student veterans – the Texas A&M Don & Ellie Knauss Veteran Resource & Support Center (VRSC), and the Veteran Services Office – collaborating with numerous other departments to maximize student veteran success, Cargo said A&M is a national leader in student veteran support.
The network of support Texas A&M provides to student veterans would not exist without the top down support from university and Texas A&M University System leadership, said Brig. Gen. Joe E. Ramirez, Jr. (Ret.), interim vice president for student affairs.
“I am extremely proud of Col. Jerry Smith and his entire team at the VRSC for the great work they do every day to support our veterans and their families,” Ramirez said. “This is a significant recognition of their efforts to ensure our veterans and their family members get the best experience and support possible while they are students at Texas A&M. They truly do ‘serve well those who have served us all,’ and we are all very proud of them.”
The university’s military admissions department helps guide undergraduate veterans through the admission and transition process, and helps them identify and apply their strengths to maximize their potential and achieve timely degree completion, said Karen Cambronero, assistant director for military admissions. “Student veterans bring a special set of skills and experiences that truly enhance the classroom experience and academic environment for all those around them,” Cambronero said.
Mike Dvoracek, an Army veteran and veteran academic coach with the Academic Success Center, highlighted the importance of dedicated academic services for student veterans. “Student veterans are a unique subset of non-traditional students,” he said. “Having an academic support system that recognizes and understands the individual experiences and challenges many of them face can be critical in their transition back to their academic studies.”
Army Veteran Susan Keough, associate director at the Texas A&M Career Center and the veteran career liaison said, “The Texas A&M Career Center is committed to supporting our student veterans as they prepare to enter the workforce post-graduation, as well as the continuing education for campus recruiters to understand the value of hiring veterans.”
Providing cross-campus connections to staff who are also veterans further enhances the resources that Texas A&M offers its student veterans, said VRSC officials. Veteran staff help to provide input on how to tailor their specific service to student veterans, from helping veterans in developing civilian time management skills to educating them on how to translate their experiences from the military to a corporate language in preparation for post-graduation employment.
Applicant institutions for the VEER award must demonstrate how they meet the following criteria:
- Centralized place for student veterans to meet or find assistance and information
- Institution employee who serves as a central point of contact for student veterans
- A U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs Work-Study Program location
- Admissions and enrollment policies, new student orientation and courses for veterans
- Student organization for veterans
- Academic support services for student veterans
- Mental health and disability services
- Housing policy that applies to veterans
- Faculty/staff training on student veteran issues
- Career services
- Additional criteria as deemed appropriate by TVC
For more information on how Texas A&M serves student veterans, visit tamu.edu/veterans.