Since the 2022 Russian invasion, Ukraine’s veteran population has increased from roughly 500,000 to over 1.2 million and counting, yet the country’s ability to support its servicemembers has declined due to the war’s impact on the economy and infrastructure. Two…
SU’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families expands team
The Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University has announced the appointment of staff members who will oversee veterans programs, special events and conferences, research, communications and design, and office administration. The expansion of the IVMF team allows the institute to continue its steady growth and ability to serve stakeholders in the veteran and military families communities.
Jared S. Lyon has been appointed national program manager for the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV). In his role, he manages, coordinates and administers the EBV and EBV-Families (EBV-F) national programs, which offer training in entrepreneurship to veterans injured during post-9/11 service (EBV) and family members/caregivers of wounded warriors and surviving spouses of service members who lost their lives in the line of duty (EBV-F). EBV training is offered through a network of eight consortium schools around the country, including SU; the University of California, Los Angeles; Florida State University; Texas A&M University; Purdue University; the University of Connecticut; Louisiana State University; and Cornell University.
A veteran of the U.S. Navy, Lyon served as a submariner and Navy diver, taking part in multiple deployments around the world in support of the global war on terrorism. Upon leaving the Navy with an honorable discharge, he worked for Northrop Grumman Corp. in Melbourne, Fla., as an electronic systems administrator while completing his associate’s degree in business administration at Brevard Community College. Self-employed for one year, he next served as manager of Florida operations for three seasons for the Washington Nationals major league baseball team.
Lyon returned to higher education, earning a bachelor’s degree in social science from Florida State in December 2011. At FSU he served as president of the Collegiate Veterans Association (a Student Veterans of America chapter), president of Sigma Phi Epsilon men’s fraternity and co-chairman for the Student Veteran Film Fest planning committee. He was a Garnet and Gold Scholar, a Ruck Scholar, a Seminole Torchbearer, a voting member on FSU President Eric J. Barron’s Veterans Center Advisory Board and served on the search committee for the Veterans Center Director. Lyon was also surgeon of District 2 for the Florida Department of Veterans of Foreign Wars and junior vice commander for VFW Post 3308 in Tallahassee, Fla.
In November 2011, Lyon was named National Student Veteran of the Year by the Student Veterans of America (SVA), a coalition of student veteran groups on college campuses across the United States and overseas. With 526 chapters, the SVA provides veterans with resources, support and advocacy to succeed in higher education and after graduation.
Meghan Conroy Florkowski has been appointed veterans program manager. She is responsible for the management, coordination and administration of the IVMF’s portfolio of veterans programs, including the EBV and EBV-F, EBV TAP (Technical Assistance Program), V-WISE (entrepreneurship training for women veterans from any era or branch of service) and Operation Endure & Grow (online business training for National Guard and Reserve members and their families), in addition to future veterans programs currently in development and those to come at a later date.
A veteran of the U.S. Army, Florkowski has experience in operations and project management and served domestically and abroad in Germany, Poland and Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. An Army engineer officer for five years, she has held positions as a platoon leader, Battalion S1 (administration and personnel officer), doctrine writer and assistant operations officer.
Post-service, while residing in Germany, she worked as a Transition Assistance Program (TAP) facilitator at assigned locations across Germany and the Netherlands, aiding service members in their transition from military to civilian life. In this role, she facilitated workshops to veteran groups of up to 50 personnel on how to successfully transition, covering topics including small business ownership and military-related benefits.
Once stateside, Florkowski served as operations manager for the USO of Metropolitan New York, operating a key service center in the metropolitan area. There she planned and executed higher headquarters projects and comprehensive outreach across the tri-state area.
Florkowski holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering psychology with a minor in systems engineering from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and a master’s in exercise science and health promotion from California University of Pennsylvania.
Me’Shae Brooks-Rolling has been appointed director of special events and conferences. She is responsible for the coordination and planning of all events related to the institute and its portfolio of programs. A cross-disciplinary practitioner of special events management and financial literacy education, Brooks-Rolling previously worked at SU’s Burton Blatt Institute where she was director of special events and public relations and served as senior operations manager of the Medicaid Infrastructure Grant, also known as New York Makes Work Pay.
Brooks-Rolling began her career as an auditor for the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) and later made a transition into special events management, obtaining a certificate in meeting and conference management from the Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Travel Administration at New York University. She has assisted with coordination of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, as well as with events at Fortune Magazine and the New York Stock Exchange. As senior events coordinator with the New York City Office of the Mayor during the Giuliani administration, she helped plan and execute Yankees Ticker Tape parades, award ceremonies, receptions, press conferences and dinner galas.
As a professional working and residing in New York City, Brooks-Rolling became concerned over society’s general absence of fundamental financial education. Her passion led to her authoring a book, “How to Save Money & Organize Your Finances: Tales of an Urban Consumer” (AuthorHouse, 2006). Prior to joining SU, she taught professional development courses in both event planning and financial literacy to faculty and staff at Pennsylvania State University. Brooks-Rolling is an FDIC MoneySmart Trainer, teaches and writes extensively on financial literacy education (both at SU and in Central New York) and makes financial literacy presentations at national conferences. A board member of the Syracuse Rescue Mission, she serves on the planning committee for the 2012 WISE (Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship) Symposium, is a contributing writer for the Syracuse Post-Standard MoneyWise and Syracuse.com and a member of the Syracuse Press Club.
Brooks-Rolling holds a dual bachelor’s degree in marketing and political science from Anderson University in Anderson, Ind., was awarded an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship to pursue her master’s degree in public administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at SU and earned a CSEP (Certified Special Events Professional), the highest designation conferred in the special events industry, from the International Special Events Society (ISES).
Rosalinda Vasquez Maury has been appointed director of research. She plans, coordinates and manages the IVMF research agenda with senior leadership and ensures that is accomplished on time and within budget; manages all research conducted at the institute; and serves as a liaison to IVMF Fellows, subcontractors, consultants and services related to conducting research. Maury works closely with the institute’s employment and education programs; conducts research, data analysis and writing in support of grant proposals, submissions and performance; and oversees additional IVMF research needs. In addition, she assists in developing policy proposals and advocating for policy changes at the organizational, local, state and federal levels; co-authors reports and publications; and presents at professional conferences.
Throughout her career, Maury has managed and provided research support to senior scientists for studies and projects in the public and private sectors, including factors impacting on-the-job performance, effects of personal financial mismanagement behaviors, training needs assessment, workload assessment, organizational restructuring, job and occupational analysis and equal pay for equal work. She has extensive experience in survey development and worldwide data collection, and has been responsible for developing, implementing and managing surveys for data collection on the large and small scale, for organizations including VAnalytic, Metrica, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Air Force and Texas State University. Her work has been featured in numerous publications.
Previously, she worked with the Coast Guard’s Occupational Analysis Surveys, where she created online surveys, hosted surveys, and managed and provided survey tech support and data ready for analysis. She was involved in the Air Force Security Forces Job Compatibility Assessment Tool and helped develop a screening instrument, scoring rubric and user’s guide for use by the test administrator in conjunction with other standard hiring interviews and tests. She was also involved with the Air Force Financial Assessment Tool, which helped identify airmen most at risk for developing personal financial management problems. She was responsible for the literature review, item development, data collection, data analysis and reporting findings.
Maury holds master’s and bachelor’s degrees in psychology from the University of Texas at San Antonio.
Nadine Austin has been appointed office coordinator. Austin works with the IVMF team in all aspects, serving as office manager and the “public face” of the institute, greeting visitors as soon as they enter the door. She handles daily office administration, finances and special projects to assist operations, and fully supports institute staff.
She previously served as program consultant for the College Board, working with secondary school counselors, college and university admissions officers and families to provide training and educational programs in standardized testing and college preparation. In addition, she was office coordinator and program associate at SU’s University College, in the area of workforce education and development.
Prior to SU, she worked for Longhouse Council BSA as an educational program specialist in the learning for life division. She also served in several positions in admissions and financial aid at Daniel Webster College and Notre Dame College, both in New Hampshire.
Austin holds a bachelor’s degree in biology, with a minor in sociology, from Russell Sage College and an MBA from Southern New Hampshire University.
In addition, Ellie Komanecky, national program administrator for the EBV and EBV-F, will transition to a new role. Effective Feb. 1, she will become the IVMF’s communications and design coordinator, responsible for the creation of communications and marketing materials for the institute and its portfolio of education, employment and research programs.
From initial concept generation to delivery, Komanecky will produce a variety of print and non-print media—including logos, promotional and branding materials, advertisements and various publications—in addition to digital and web-based deliverables.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in entrepreneurship and emerging enterprises from the Whitman School of Management.