15 Warrior-Scholars come to academic boot camp in July

Nancy Doolittle
Veterans Colleague Network Group

For one week this July, Cornell will host 15 military veterans in the Warrior-Scholar Project, providing an intensive, highly structured “boot camp” orientation to academic life to help these veterans transition from a military to university environment.

Cornell is one of 11 universities involved in this year’s Warrior-Scholar Project. Launched at Yale University in 2012 with nine participants, and expanding to include the University of Michigan and Harvard University in 2014, the project emphasizes reading, writing and the liberal arts. Distinguished faculty lead topics of study chosen to resonate with military service men and women, such as democracy, liberty and equality. The program is designed for veterans from the enlisted ranks, with little or no college experience, rather than for officers, who already have college degrees.

This year, about 150 veterans are expected to enroll in the project nationwide. Applicants can indicate their top three university preferences. All program expenses except for transportation are paid for by the project.

“Military education has been part of Cornell’s land-grant mission from the university’s inception, from our support of the Reserve Officers Training Corps to the classes we held for WWII soldiers, to our Yellow Ribbon students and our vibrant Veterans Colleague Network Group,” said Vice Provost Judith Appleton. “The Warrior-Scholar Project is an excellent opportunity for us to help veterans acclimate to college life and develop the skills and confidence to succeed in their studies, whether at Cornell or elsewhere,” she said.

Earlier this semester, project organizers visited campus to review logistics, housing details and scheduling. Jared Woodrey, MBA ’15, a Roy H. Park Leadership Fellow in the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management and a veteran communications officer of the Marine Corps, is Cornell’s Warrior-Scholar program manager.

Woodrey said that when he came to Cornell, he first became interested in the transitioning experiences of veterans at Johnson. To actively aid in their orientation to university life and best position them to secure their top summer internship and, after receiving their graduate degree, a full-time position, he became president of the Association of Veterans at Johnson, a position now held by Jessie Sloan, MBA ’16. But veterans coming to Cornell as undergraduates face an even greater transition, Woodrey said: They tend to be older than their first-year classmates, they are leaving a very unique culture in the military, and they often are married, sometimes with children.

“Cornell has a number of programs to improve the experience of veterans, both at the student level in an undergraduate veterans club, which we are starting now, on through the Veterans Colleague Network Group, which serves faculty and staff,” he said. “The Warrior-Scholar Project provides yet another way to build up a community of those who served and help them to flourish.”

Woodrey continued: “Right now I am inviting professors to teach and undergraduate or graduate students to serve as writing tutors for the Warrior-Scholar Project. Most of those I’ve talked with are enthusiastic about participating if their summer schedule allows it.”

The rigorous program, running from 8 a.m.-9 p.m. daily, features lectures and facilitated discussions in the mornings based on assigned readings. A writing seminar follows, with tutors available to help. On some days, tours of campus or other activities will be offered. “We want to show participants that college life has many facets – dining, socializing, athletic opportunities, history and traditions,” Woodrey said.

“We have invited professors from a wide range of disciplines, including history, law and classics, and with varied teaching styles,” said Appleton. Local veterans also have volunteered to help. “The program is meant to inspire veterans coming from a wide range of educational backgrounds and military experiences, and give them an opportunity to network as well,” she said.

Tutors needed The Warrior-Scholar Project is seeking Cornell undergraduate students to tutor during the weeklong boot camp. If interested, contact Jared Woodrey at jsw333@cornell.edu. For more information about the Warrior-Scholar Project, see http://www.warrior-scholar.org/.