University of Arizona Launches Program to Help Veterans in STEM
Starting this coming fall, the university will launch the Arizona Science, Engineering and Math Scholars program for veterans (ASEMS-V), providing extra support to veteran students pursuing STEM degrees and boosting their participation in research. Veterans will be eligible to receive tutoring, mentoring and professional development.
The program is an expansion of the preexisting ASEMS program for UA students, which provides different supports for students studying STEM.
“Veterans are particularly well-suited for careers in STEM,” James Rohrbough, a veteran who became the first staff scientist in the UA’s Marty Lab, said.
“The mindset of military service is mission-oriented. We have a goal; We do everything we can to achieve it. And that’s exactly how we do science, too. We focus all of our energy on the steps it takes to get to a goal, so time in the military is really useful.”
Assistant professor of chemistry Michael Marty, who received a National Science Foundation Career grant to support a veteran-specific program, will help launch the ASEMS-V. Under the program, veterans will take courses such as Success in STEM, Professionalism in STEM and Research Readiness.
“Veterans are typically older, more mature and have more experience when they start university, so they’re more ready to jump right into research than a traditional 18-year-old undergraduate might be,” Marty said. “We think that’ll help mimic the on-the-job training they get in the military. It’s practical, hands-on learning.”
Various universities across the nation are undertaking efforts to make college more accessible and affordable for veterans. Last year, Vanderbilt University established the Bass Military Scholars Program after receiving a $25 million donation from the Lee and Ramona Bass Foundation to provide programming support and financial aid to military veterans and officers in five of its schools.
Earlier this year, Columbia University also started a free online course to help serving duty members and veterans transition into higher education and provide resources to identify degree programs that best fit their potential.