Earlier this month, J. Michael Haynie, Ph.D., vice chancellor for strategic initiatives and innovation and executive director of the D’Aniello Institute for Veterans and Military Families, was appointed by United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough to serve on…
University Student Veterans and Leaders Kickoff 2022 at Student Veterans of America Conference
Eighteen student veterans, including eight Army veterans, six Marine veterans and four Navy veterans, recently returned from the 14th annual Student Veterans of America (SVA) National Conference in Orlando, Florida.
Joining the students were Syracuse University conference presenters Ron Novack G’20, executive director of the Office of Veteran and Military Affairs (OVMA); Jennifer Pluta G’15, assistant director of veteran career services for OVMA; Rosalinda Maury, Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) director of applied research; Misty Stutsman Fox, director of the entrepreneurship and small business portfolio at the IVMF; Mirza Tihic, postdoctoral researcher with the Department of Entrepreneurship and Emerging Enterprises in the Whitman School of Management and the IVMF; and Linda Euto ’86, G’91, G’02, associate director for research and evaluation at the IVMF.
Every year, SVA’s national conference brings more than 2,000 student veterans, advocates, thought-leaders, stakeholders and supporters in higher education together for the field’s largest convening. The three-day conference consisted of breakout sessions geared toward student veteran success and post-graduation opportunities. One of those advocates was former Navy SEAL Remi Adeleke who has been a longtime supporter of the IVMF.
University leaders conducted several sessions at the conference. Novack, Pluta and Janina Rios ’24, president of Syracuse University’s Student Veteran Organization, presented on “Fundraising in Higher Education for Student Veterans,” speaking on best practices, tools and strategies related to fundraising for veteran and military-connected student programs, initiatives and financial support funds.
Pluta also joined Maury on an important discussion on navigating the current employment situation in a post COVID-19 climate. Maury and Tihic presented on “The State of Veteran Entrepreneurship,” sharing results from the 2020 and 2021 National Survey of Military-Affiliated Entrepreneurs in an effort to understand the resources, tools and programs needed to help military-connected entrepreneurs be successful.
Stutsman-Fox was on the panel “Exploring the Entrepreneurship Journey” with Stan Kurtz from the U.S. Small Business Administration and IVMF graduate Chris Rawlings, founder and chief energy officer of Bowerbird Energy. Lastly, Euto presented on debunking common myths about veterans and the challenges they face, and she moderated a panel on “Improving the Pipeline Between Higher Education and Employers” based on a recent report in partnership with Prudential where Pluta was a panelist.
Each year, the SVA announces the finalists for the Chapter Advisor of the Year, Chapter of the Year and Student Veteran of the Year. OVMA’s Ron Novack was honored as a finalist in the Chapter Advisor of the Year category for his hard work and dedication on behalf of student veterans and military-connected students at Syracuse University.
“It’s an honor to be recognized as one of the finalists in this category,” Novack says. “I’m extremely proud of the work our OVMA team has done to continue Syracuse’s historic legacy to make the University the Best Place for Veterans.”
Student veterans shared how this experience was helpful for their future careers. “I met several companies I’m seriously considering for the future that I never would have known how to approach without this,” says Keri-Anne Miclon G’23, a master’s student in library science in the School of Information Studies and a Navy veteran. “Hoping to have the chance to go again next year!”
Marjorie David G’22, who earned an MBA and is an Army veteran, says she was grateful for the OVMA team to attend. “It was an amazing trip full of networking and new friends. Grateful for the opportunity!”
Syracuse students attended the conference at no cost to them thanks to support from donors to the Veterans Legacy Fund (VLF). The fund offers scholarships and special event programming to enhance the student experience, a key strategic University imperative.