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Cayuga CC offers new course to help veterans transition from “boots to books”

DATE: 08-03-2012

This fall, Cayuga Community College Community Education and Workforce Development is offering a new course that is designed to prepare service members and veterans for college success. College Bootcamp for Veterans will address the cultural differences between military and college life, veteran benefits, and academic skills needed to be successful in college.

New York State Division of Veterans Affairs counselor and former U.S. Army infantry soldier Kevin Justian will teach the course, which will provide an overview of all major federal veterans’ benefits: VA healthcare, VA educational benefits, compensation and pension benefits, and other federal resources available to help with the reintegration process.

“Veterans have experienced a different environment and mindset in the military as compared to what they will encounter during academic work,” Justian said. “There are social and psychological effects of military service; college is different from the formal military lifestyle and can be used to fill the social belonging void found when leaving the structured unit cohesions of the military unit.”

Justian earned an Associate’s degree from Cayuga Community College and a Bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University, with dual majors in philosophy and psychology. He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in psychology. For the past 12 years, he has served in his current role as a state veteran counselor.

In May, Justian began serving the Cayuga Community College and Auburn community on Fridays in Room M-316 on the Auburn Campus. During his office hours, he helps student veterans and community-based veterans obtain benefits and navigate the difficult transition between military and civilian cultures. He assists with service-connected disability claims and facilitates medical treatment for symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury. He interfaces with the College Veterans Club, the Veterans Working Group, and the Veteran Regional Consortium, and hopes to network with CCC’s admissions, financial aid, and registrar’s offices, as well as faculty and senior leadership to help make CCC a “veteran-friendly” campus.

“I went to college after military service and understand the challenges a veteran experiences as an adult learner,” Justian said. “The value of higher education is essential for success after military service in today’s society.”

Students can enroll in one of two sections of the nine-hour course—6 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays from September 13 through October 18; or 1 to 2:30 p.m. on Tuesdays from October 9 through November 13. Both sections will be held on the Auburn Campus. There is no fee to enroll.

To register or obtain more information, visit www.cayuga-cc.edu/communityed or call 315-294-8841.