Vet support: Transition from the battlefield to BC

How much do we know about veterans here at Bellevue College? They are here, but where and who?

The truth is that many may have come fresh from a warzone or distant battlefield. Eager to get their education, veterans have brought their quest for education and obtaining their dream job here to BC.

Programs like the Veterans Training Support Center have been created for veterans here at BC to further understand what new battlegrounds they are up against. The major point of focus for the VTSC is to enlighten the staff and faculty of BC through the understanding of student veterans, post-traumatic stress disorder, and extreme situations such as traumatic brain injuries. Preparation is vital when veterans are coming back to college and interacting with their class environments.

At a VTSC workshop, warm smiles and a good support system are available to help veterans on a daily basis. Teachers, veteran program representatives, and various faculty like Science Advisor Sandy Walkenhorst, Assistant Director Veterans office Margo Georgian M.A. and many other essential faculty and staff members show their care through involvement. Nikki Davis, Veterans Core Navigator was another key speaker that added to the potency of the workshop: “ I assist veterans transitioning from active duty to college life as well as veterans families or spouses transitioning as well. Bellevue College has been doing a lot and has great potential to do even more in making this college a vet friendly campus.”

As an Air Force veteran with service in combat, Davis is familiar with hurdles and also commented on one of those first stepping-stones of transitioning. “ I viewed the world a little differently than a lot of my classmates. Some of your classmates may be running start students, that are 16 and 17-year olds, that may not understand exactly what it really means to be in that classroom and how important the information that the professor or teacher is passing on to you,” she said.

With the VTSC program, BC is home an outlet that allows the faculty and students the understanding of how different it can be to walk in a veteran’s shoes. Veterans have many hurdles to overcome, which may lead them to believe that they are in “No Man’s Land.” However, amazing staff members like Project Succeed Program Manager, Andy Brucia are here at BC to provide support and attend to the needs of veterans from overseas to shore. Brucia voiced that, “sometimes faculty members may see or talk to veterans who have challenges because the system of college may not work right or things are hard to grasp these programs help the staff and faculty serve veterans better at BC.

We’re all working together to bring more attention and provide better services on campus here for veterans to let them know we care. I’d also like to see the student body as a whole to engage veterans as well, it’s not just about veterans helping veterans.”

Those at BC can be comforted by the support available to them through programs that will make a positive transition more attainable. Veterans come from many different battlefields and are burdened with diverse experiences. When coming to BC, veterans should call on the supportive services available to them, where heartfelt assistance by well-equipped faculty and staff members will answer their call. For more information regarding Continuing Education programs, visit the webpage at