Archive for the ‘Grace Student Veterans Organization’ Category

Wrapping Up

Friday, April 27th, 2012

It is hard to believe that the 2011/2012 school year is almost at an end.   I could swear that it was just a couple weeks ago that I was coming back after Christmas break and bemoaning the fact that I still had sixteen weeks of classes left.  However, at the tail end of the semester I am reflecting on the realization that I learned much and had an enjoyable time.

This past school year was the first one in which I took college courses while also engaging in my military career.  In addition to classes and homework, I have had to keep on top of my computer-based training courses.   To add a little extra interest, my 96 year old grandfather who lives with my family has finally started to experience the pains that come at the end of life, and we have now converted our living area into a home hospice complete with a hospital bed and other nursing home implements.

In spite of all this, my school year has been easier than it might have been, and I have really learned to appreciate the lengths which Grace College is going to accommodate its military students; in my case those that are actively serving.  In addition to the Veteran’s Affairs Student Services Team, I have found Grace’s professors to be particularly eager to help military students.  When it comes to mandatory activities like training weekends, they are more than willing to rework personal assignment schedules.  That way, I can focus on learning the fine points of how to load a running jet without having to waste any energy worrying about how I will fit my homework in alongside my duties as a weekend warrior.   In that vein, I have my annual tour coming up at Elmendorf AFB in May, just before the semester ends.  Once I informed them that I would be leaving school before the semester ended, they each took the time to plan a doable and accelerated assignment schedule for me.  This eliminated the possibility of me having to withdraw from any of my classes due to unfinished material before I left.

As I have juggled the different aspects my life this past semester, I have come to appreciate further the excellent treatment which Grace College gives its military students.  I trust that your experiences this past school year have been equally as stellar, and hope that you end your studies on a high note.

Also, be sure to follow our Twitter [ https://twitter.com/#!/GraceSVO ] and Facebook [ https://www.facebook.com/GraceSVO ] accounts for pertinent information about benefits and upcoming organization events!

 

David Sumpter Interview

Friday, April 6th, 2012

This week we had the opportunity to speak with David Sumpter.  He is a Junior and member of our Student Veteran’s Organization.  He was one of our first active members, and served as the Organization’s vice president in 2010. He holds ratings in a variety of martial arts, and is the part owner of a martial arts school in Warsaw.  We are thankful that he took time out of his schedule as a father, student, husband, business owner and trainer in order to help lead the fledgling Grace SVO.

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I was born in Bradenton FL but moved to Warsaw Indiana before High school.  After graduating, I joined the Navy, where I served as a hospital Corpsman 6 1/2 years.  I served at Naval stations on both coasts, but never on ship or overseas. I have been married for almost 10 yrs and have a 6 month old baby girl named Lilianna. I go to Grace full time, and am a part owner of Relentless Martial Arts Academy with my wife, Rachel, and a fellow veteran, Brandon Hunter. On my days off I work at Dunham’s Sports.

What degree are you studying for at Grace College, and how long have you been here?

I have been studying Sports management at Grace College for almost 2 years.  I plan to use my degree to help my martial arts school.

What drew you to Grace College?

One of the main reasons I chose to come to Grace was because I had a desire to improve my spiritual walk with Christ. Additionally, I knew people that have attended Grace College in the Past.

Why would you recommend Grace College to a prospective military student?  

I would recommend Grace to Military members because the Veteran’s Affairs team here has a wide range of experience in dealing with the problems that military students encounter while in college.  If they can’t personally assist with an issue, they know who to talk to so that your problem is resolved as quickly as possible.

How would you like to see the veteran program change as it faces the next few years? 

I would like to see the SVO expand further.  I think that it would be cool if we could get an applied learning class developed which would bring military students together in an organized learning environment.

 

I appreciate David taking time out of his busy schedule to answer my questions.  Before I sign off, I should note that Relentless Martial Arts offers a military discount, and a free first week of classes!  Additionally, I hope that all of our fantastic members have a blessed Easter weekend and Resurrection Sunday.

Grace College and Seminary Increases Focus on Military and Veteran Student Services

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

Grace College continues to increase its focus on serving military and veteran students, most recently by creating a full-time Veterans Affairs Professional position for Scott Shaffer in the Admissions Department. Shaffer is currently serving as the 2-238th Aviation Battalion Chaplain in Shelbyville and has been a Grace staff member for two and a half years.

As the Veterans Affairs Professional, Shaffer will provide service to Veteran and military families during the recruitment and admissions processes and will be responsible for assisting enrolled military and veteran students. Shaffer is excited about his new position and the opportunities it will afford him for serving military members like him.  “I love serving in the United States military. I love the mission of Grace College and Seminary. My job here is the perfect marriage of both worlds,” Shaffer said.  Shaffer is assisted by two student workers who head up the Student Veteran Organization (SVO) on campus. 

The move to shift Shaffer’s role was part of Grace’s concerted efforts to reach out to and provide exceptional service for past and present military members and their families.  As a result of these efforts, Grace College was awarded the recognition of being named on the list of “Military Friendly Schools” for 2011 and 2012 by G.I. Jobs. 

To assist military students in their academic pursuits, Grace College recognizes ACE-recommended credit for military training, prior college-level course work, and CLEP exams, as well as DANTES/DSST credit for some degree programs.  Grace also offers a free evaluation of military training for college credit.

Grace has generous financial-aid programs for military members, including the Yellow Ribbon Program Scholarship, which is available to all students with 100% eligibility under the Post 9-11 GI Bill.  This scholarship covers any remaining tuition balance after the Post 9-11 GI Bill benefit is applied to the student’s account.

The most recent physical investment in the Military Student program at Grace came in the form of the newly completed VA Student Resource Center and Lounge in the Gordon Recreation Center.  The lounge, which is reserved exclusively for the use of military students, offers flat-screen TV’s, leather furniture, computers with internet access and CAC readers, and a kitchenette.  The lounge has been received positively by military members and members of the SVO on campus.

<<Grace College & Seminary Military Students Website>>

SVO Competition at Purdue University

Monday, March 19th, 2012

Coming up on the 14th of April, the leadership of the Grace College Student Veteran’s Organization will be heading down to Purdue University in West Lafayette Indiana.  There, we will take part in the Operation Diploma grant competition , an initiative of the Military Family Research Institute at Purdue University.  We will be competing alongside other regional student veteran groups for a grant of up to $2000.  The past two years in a row our SVO has done very well in the competition, and we are hoping to continue our success in 2012.

A few examples of projects funded at least in part by MFRI grant money are Organization gatherings, new student welcome-packets, and the John Schumacher chapel event.  These projects have helped shape success in our organization as we reach out to our members, the campus and the community as a whole.  John Schumacher was fantastic for raising campus-wide awareness, and the welcome packets helped our students adjust to a new area.  Over the past several weeks we have been busy composing and refining our group’s presentation.  In it, we have covered the background and history of our Organization, in addition to our current administrative practices, our yearly budget, and our long-term goals for member recruitment and sustainment.  As we have composed outlines and prepared slideshows, we have closely examined our operational records from our past two years of existence.  This has helped our leadership develop a plan based off of the group’s current and past challenges and successes.

As we anticipate a potential boost in this year’s funds, I would like to take this opportunity to ask for feedback.  The leadership of the SVO here at Grace College and Seminary has a tentative budget prepared to present to the Military Family Research Institute on April 14th.  However, I would like to hear what our members think.  How would you like to see a grant used to benefit our organization?    Feedback is important.  The more we hear from you the members, the more the leadership can tailor the organization to be one that reflects the unique personalities and strengths of Grace College’s military students!

 

-Marshall Vondy

Veteran’s Affairs Student Worker

 

Interview: Christine French

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

This week I had the privilege to talk to Christine French, who is the Coordinator of Academic Support at Grace College and Seminary.   She is also a member of our Veterans Affairs Student Services Team (VASST) to better your experience as a military student at Grace College

 

Tell me a little bit about your life and family outside of Grace College:

I am South African, born and raised. My husband John French graduated from Warsaw High and then Grace College and Seminary.  He came to SA to be involved with church planting.  That is where we met and married.  We have two children: a senior in college and a sophomore in high school.

I enjoy being outdoors, gardening and going to sporting events.

 

What is your job at Grace College, and how long have you worked here/in your particular office?

I have been at Grace for three years. I provide accommodations for students with disabilities, administer standardized tests, make up tests for the campus, and follow up on attendance alerts from professors.

 

Why are you interested in helping military students?

In the South Africa which I grew up in, all males were required to perform military service after graduating high school.  Both of my brothers served for two years.  There were some men who chose to go to college first and then do their military service; their rationale being that they would immediately move into leadership positions.

Most of the students who came to college after their military service outperformed and were a lot more mature than the students who came directly from high school.  However, there were veterans who struggled to adjust to campus life and who struggled academically.  I was friends with some of the struggling students and had some in my classes.  I remember wanting to help the students, and yet feeling helpless in not knowing how to help them.  Those were the days before we understood much about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

 

When it comes to helping veterans, what is your particular passion?

I appreciate their service to the country while they were in the military.  I would like to make veterans aware of how much they can contribute to campus.  They have been overseas and have a much broader view on life and the real world, and could help Grace become aware of life outside the Christian Midwest cocoon.

When it comes to students’ needs, my motto is: “What is too hard for most people is just right for me.”  Meaning that if a student has difficulty adjusting to campus or with academics, I would like to facilitate the appropriate help.  There is no problem which I am not willing to help with.

 

Why would you recommend Grace College to a prospective military student?

Grace focuses on the development of the student as a whole, not just academically.  It is striving to be of service to military students, and has provided the beautiful lounge area in the Gordon Rec center.  Students can go there to hang out, socialize, or study.  On certain days of the week, a writing tutor is in the lounge to help students with class projects. Additionally, the college offers the Veterans Affairs Student Services team to help veterans with any issues they may have while in school.

 

What is your vision for the future of veterans at Grace College?

Veterans should not only experience academic success, but also feel connected at Grace. Veterans should see Grace as place where their experiences and service to the country are valued.

 

I appreciate Mrs. French taking time out of her busy schedule to answer my questions.  I think that her answers are insightful and well reflect the attitude of Grace College’s faculty and staff towards military students.  To see more about other members of our VASST Team, check out the “meet the team” tab on www.grace.edu/military.

 

-Marshall Vondy

Grace College Veteran’s Affairs Student Worker

 

Local Business Discounts

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

Kosciusko County is home to many local businesses which eagerly support military members and veterans.  I’ve mentioned a few of them here, and I hope that you will acknowledge their generosity by frequenting their locations of business.

The “Big R” located on 3660 Commerce Drive in Warsaw offers a “Military Mondays program, where on  the 2nd Monday of each month; card carrying veterans receive 10% off their entire purchase; special order, sale items, firearms and ammunition excluded.

The Pizza Shoppe”, located on 3632 Commerce Drive in Warsaw offers 10% off to military cardholders.  I should note that their pizza is absolutely fantastic, and their service is always friendly.

Culvers”, on N. Parker Street in Warsaw offers military cardholders a 10% meal discount.  My personal favorite “fast food” resteraunt, Culvers turns out excellent hamburgers and delicious frozen custard.  They offer a personable staffa and a clean and comfortable dining environment.

We are always on the lookout for businesses which offer military discounts, and if any of your favorites happen to be military-friendly, be sure to let us know about them so that we can share them with other Indiana veterans.  Check our Veterans Discount page often as we continue to add more businesses.

 

-Marshall Vondy

Veteran’s Affairs Student Worker (And Pizza Eater)

 

College Classes & Monthly Training

Monday, February 20th, 2012

This past week was a busy one for me, and in addition to securing a nice paycheck, it reminded me of another reason why I am happy to be at Grace College and Theological Seminary.

From Friday to Tuesday I was at my monthly drill at Grissom Joint Air Reserve Base in Peru, Indiana.  Now, my unit’s drill weekends are normally just two day ordeals, but due to upcoming dual Annual Tours coming up in May and October, my commander saw fit to extend our training through Monday and Tuesday so that everyone could be current with things like medical, career-specific Computer Based Training courses, and , as well as heavy equipment refresher courses.  In addition, much time was delegated to the building up and loading of pallets for air shipment via KC-135.  While I was excited by the prospect of getting a larger paycheck than normal, I was initially concerned by the extension of the training weekend.  I had classes and due dates on Monday and Tuesday which I would have to skip, and I knew that I would have very little time to work on class projects in the evenings after I got off duty.

When I addressed my concerns with my professors, they told me that they made personal habits of working with military students and their often-abnormal schedules.  They summarily extended several deadlines for me.  Additionally, when informed that my first annual tour would overlap with the last week of classes in May, they were very eager to work out modified assignment schedules with me.  I was encouraged by their willingness to help and the appreciation which they showed for Grace’s military students, and I am continually happy to recommend Grace as a truly “military-friendly” college.

 

-Marshall Vondy

Veteran’s Affairs Student Worker

(And USAF Air Transportation troop)   (;

 

Student Interview: Jericho Schoof

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

This past week I had the opportunity to talk to United States Air Force veteran Jericho Schoof about why he chose to study at Grace College.  During his time in the Air Force, Jericho served as a F-15 jet engine mechanic, and was station at Both Eglin AFB in Florida and Mountain Home AFB in Idaho.  He now lives with his wife in Warsaw, Indiana, and is pursuing a degree in Spanish Education.

What drew you to Grace College?
I thought the small campus atmosphere with a Christian focus was the most appealing part of Grace College. I also liked the sense of community shared by both the faculty and student body. The overall curriculum and the opportunities to study abroad also interested me.

As a military student, what do you feel Grace College offers that another college doesn’t? And, do you feel that the Veteran’s Affairs Student Services Team is a benefit to you?As a military student, the veterans lounge is a big bonus that other campuses don’t offer. I like having the ability to converse with other veterans in our own area devoted to those who served. Since there are not a lot of veterans on campus, the Veteran’s Affairs Student Services Team gets to know each of us by name and are always available if we need any help or have any questions.

Do you feel that you have benefited from choosing to attend Grace College?
Yes, I have benefited from choosing Grace in multiple ways. First, I am able to pursue a degree in Spanish Education and Grace offers challenging classes that push me academically. Secondly, I am able to grow in my faith not only while I am in class, but also while I attend Chapel.

Would you recommend Grace College to another military veteran?
Yes, I would recommend Grace College to another veteran, because the small campus atmosphere and challenging curriculum is a great way to start your career outside the military.

 

Like Jericho, I feel that whether you are currently serving or have moved past your military career, Grace college is an excllent way for any veteran to kick-start a successful career. ”

 

-Marshall Vondy

Veteran’s Affairs Student Services Worker

 

What Makes Grace College a “Military Friendly” School?

Monday, January 30th, 2012

For over two years now, Grace College and Seminary has been a military friendly school.  This means that the college’s administration has chosen to actively recruit and retain military students in a number of ways.   Grace accepts all forms of the Montgomery GI Bill and the Post 9/11 GI Bill, in addition to offering credit for CLEP and ACE exams.  It offers a flexible degree program, called GOAL, which offers students a chance to earn their Bachelor’s degree in Management while still being able to pursue their responsibilities (like a military career) full time.  Furthermore, Grace offers the Yellow Ribbon Scholarship Program, which will cover the remainder of an eligible student’s tuition after their Post 9/11 GI Bill is applied to their account.
The college’s Veteran’s Affairs Student Services Team has been comprised of faculty and staff from a number of different campus offices.  Each of these team members is enthusiastic about aiding military students, and each has a helpful set of resources to offer military students.There are currently thirty-two military students at Grace College and Seminary, among them veterans, dependents, and reservists.   As Admissions steps up its recruiting efforts towards military members and accepts new military students, I would like to encourage you to come and take an active part in Grace’s military community.  I assure you that whatever your military-education position, you will not be disappointed by the benefits which have been made available to you.

Even though Grace College VA Student Services considers that a solid foundation has been laid for a strong military program, we are not finished yet.  We will continue to add to the services and benefits that we currently offer.  Our goal is to both grow our military student body, and to better enhance the college experience that we offer to those who have proudly served our country.

-Marshall Vondy

VA Student Services Worker

Welcome Back!

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

Even though it is hard to believe, we have entered another year.   While it was very enjoyable, Christmas break was a busy time for me.  What with two unit drills at Grissom Air Reserve Base, numerous visits with family, and the constant tasks which come with caring for a live-in grandfather, it was quite easy to sigh with relief once I got back to Grace College for class on the 12th of January.

As I write, the Student Veteran’s Organization at Grace is already busy coordinating new things for 2012, and the Veteran’s Affairs Student Services team continues to research new ways in which they can aid military and dependent students.  Both organizations learned much from their experiences of 2011, and both have been making changes to the way that they operate.  I am optimistic that Grace College’s military students will come into their own in 2012, as we continue striving to offer the most beneficial and user-friendly military college experience possible.

It is with pleasure that I welcome you back to another semester at Grace College, and I hope and pray that 2012 will be a Christ centered year for you.  Check back soon for a list of what we have planned for the coming year!

 

-Marshall Vondy

VA Student Services Worker