Educating Cal State LA faculty on military-connected students

Cesar Gonzalez, director of the Veterans Resource Center, led the seminar with a PowerPoint that informed the participants on military-connected students.

Tahiti Salinas, Staff Reporter

Friday morning, faculty, administrators, and staff participated in the Vet Net Ally Awareness seminar in the Community Room of the John F. Kennedy Memorial Library. 

Cesar Gonzalez, director of the Veterans Resource Center and Tai-Lynia Jones, Veterans Benefits coordinator, led the seminar discussing military-connected students and how to understand what they go through on a daily basis whether they be children of veterans or active-duty soldiers.

Within the seminar, a student panel was incorporated to help the attendees hear what challenges the military veteran students have gone through and what can help them to be better understood. Lauren Anderson and Ramon Galve, military veterans and students at Cal State LA, answered questions from the attendees.

Lauren Anderson, a military medic veteran, chose to pursue a nursing major at Cal State LA. She had originally gone to school first, but after student loans started adding up, she decided to join the military. At first, her intention was to pursue traveling through the military but was sent to South Dakota where she spent the rest of her active duty. After serving, she decided to go back to school where she could pursue her degree.

Through the help of the Veterans Resource Center, located in B131 of King Hall, Lauren was able to find the help she needed. Looking forward to faculty understanding veterans better, Lauren said, “I think that [this seminar] will definitely help. Ithink it’s easier for people to come around to supporting veterans when they have a slight bit more understanding of what it is that we go through [such as] our experiences.”

For many, the information that was given throughout the seminar was interesting and sometimes shocking to learn. 

“Everyone’s just been stuck in [the military system] and suddenly you’re out into the wild, so to [speak],” Jill Jamias, assistant to the Assoc. Dean of Programs and Academic Innovation said. “Somehow, you’re supposed to know what to do. I thought that was interesting, at the same time informative, and at the same time kind of like a shock because that’s not something, I feel, the general population would know about veterans.”

Socorro Orozco, assistant professor of math education at Charter College of Education (CCOE), attended the seminar for the first time so she could better understand her military-connected students.

“I have been wanting to [come to this seminar] because I have found more and more students who are veterans or reserviced who need to leave in the middle of a semester and they really don’t want to miss class,” Orozco said. “Sometimes I feel like I don’t know exactly how to support them or what questions to ask or questioning even [if] they are telling me the truth.”

Participants that completed the seminar received a Vet Net Ally decal for their workspace to show they are allies of the school’s military-connected students. The next faculty, administrators, and staff seminar will be held during the Spring semester on Friday, April 10.