Good News: Armstrong's support of military students - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Good News: Armstrong's support of military students


Alysha Brown didn't find much call for her bomb-building skills when she started college, but her experience in the Air Force was helpful at Armstrong State University.

“I had a math teacher who found out a lot of us were prior military,” says the former senior airman with the Air Force, “and she related a lot of the math problems back to mechanics we used in the military.”

Nakia Cooper discovered the Student Veterans of America when he first started college and three years later, he is president of the organization's Armstrong chapter.

"They mentored me and showed me from a veteran’s standpoint how to better pursue my education,” said Cooper, who spent 15 years in the Georgia Air National Guard. “It was better because I was actually talking to a fellow veteran and not an 18 or 19 year old, considering I came in at 30.”

Those are just two of the roughly 1,000 military-affiliated students on Armstrong's campus, and two of the many ways the university is serving those who served our country.

"When we talk about the transition from this side of the gate to that side of the gate,” said Armstrong Military Education Coordinator Phil Gore, “that's where we want to make sure it's a smooth transition.”

That transition is made easier daily at Armstrong’s Military Resource Center, the on-campus hub for military support.

"From day one, they come here, they can get information about the campus, information about their benefits, about the degree programs that we offer and some of the support services that we have,” said Gore, a veteran himself. “We do peer-to-peer mentoring. The more we keep them on campus, the more we keep them engaged, the more that experience helps them achieve their academic goals.”

It was not Armstrong's goal to have that support recognized, but it was in several publications lately, including being listed number seven in Military Times Best for Vets college rankings.

"It's not surprising, honestly,” Brown said of the honor. “I've had a lot of teachers that are very supportive and very understanding, not only of active duty members, but also non-traditional students.”

"It means I came to the right place, I'm in the right environment,’’ added Cooper. “If I'm in the top 10, that's where you want to be.”

But Gore will continue measuring success differently.

"Recognition from others is great,” he says. “But seeing it on their face, walking across the stage holding that diploma, that's where the true reward is.”

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