Last week, military veterans traveled to Cornell for a rigorous one-week academic program to help them prepare for their undergraduate education.
The program, hosted by the Warrior-Scholar Project, aids veterans in obtaining four-year degree while acknowledging the emotional and cultural transitions that may be necessary for them to adjust to higher education, according to a press release.
Cornell — one of fifteen campuses across the country to provide this academic program — began hosting the program in 2015 and has 15 participants this summer, according to WSP Executive Director Sidney Ellington.
“The message we want to instill in every veteran who comes through our program with is that, going forward, they should channel their education, their talents, and their sense of service toward civic leadership and making their communities better places,” Ellington told The Sun. “America needs that.”
Throughout the week, participants attended classes and were taught the skills they need to transition from their military service to a classroom environment. During one course, veterans learned about scholarships, educational resources and choosing a major.
Participant Pat Ryan discussed the benefits of seeing veterans succeed in a university setting.
“Because I’m interested in this school, it makes me a lot more confident going into it, because now I see people that were in my shoes that are dealing with it and are saying that they’re having positive experiences,” he said. “It gives me peace of mind.”
Charles Santamaria, another participant, discussed his appreciation that the professors make the material relatable.
“The lectures from professors at a top university helped me understand what transitioning into a school like Cornell would be like,” he said. “I think it’s an essential part because they really give you an idea of the environment you’re going to come into.”
Both Ryan and Santamaria emphasized their gratitude for the program.
“They’re just like us, and they’re showing us all these opportunities we have,” Santamaria said. “Sometimes we tell ourselves that we can’t reach that level of academics, and the student veterans who attend this school blatantly showed us, yes you can. And it’s through their actions and the example they set by attending Cornell.”