Template: /var/www/farcry/projects/fandango/www/action/sherlockFunctions.cfm
Execution Time: 6.12 ms
Record Count: 1
Cached: Yes
Cache Type: timespan
Lazy: No
SELECT top 1 objectid,'cmCTAPromos' as objecttype
FROM cmCTAPromos
WHERE status = 'approved'
AND ctaType = 'moreinfo'
December 18, 2020

Early Bird Deadline

February 12, 2021

Regular Deadline

November 13, 2020

Call For Programs Deadline

NASPA Virtual Symposium on Military-Connected Students

Division/Group Events Student Success Veterans

The NASPA Virtual Symposium on Military-Connected Students is the association’s premiere event designed for student affairs practitioners supporting military-connected students. The symposium is your exclusive opportunity to share evidence-based practices from your campus or organization. Learn from leading researchers in the field and engage with other professionals committed to supporting military-connected students.

Following increased and overwhelming concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated effects across our country, and driven by our responsibility to ensure the best interests of our NASPA community, we are moving forward with a virtual format for this event. 



Presented By


Military-connected students comprise a growing population in higher education, and are those who enroll in postsecondary education with current or prior service with the military and their dependents. These students are also diverse in terms of demographic characteristics and service backgrounds, placing an important role on student affairs professionals and leaders to develop comprehensive, targeted, and meaningful support services to encompass the needs of these unique students. The Symposium provides opportunities for professionals and other stakeholders to share and learn ways to effectively support military-connected students.

This 2.5 day symposium features keynote sessions; research, policy, and best practices presentations; and workshop style sessions to help professionals develop or enhance their programming and services for military-connected students.



Keynote Speakers


Registration as a member is based on individual membership status. If you are employed by a college or university that is an institutional member, you can join as an individual member at the $75 rate. This gives you the conference registration and a year of membership for less than the non-member registration fee. If your institution is NOT a member, then you will need to join at the associate affiliate rate of $242 and then you can pay the individual member rate for conference registration. Visit the Membership section of the NASPA website to learn about membership types.



Early Registration
before 12/18/2020
Regular Registration
12/19/2020 - 2/12/2021
Late Registration
after 2/12/2021
NASPA Member
$115 $155 $195
Non Member 
$215 $255 $295
NASPA Student Member 
$75 $115


Pre-Symposium Workshop
$25 $35 $45
Registration Policies

Refunds will be given for cancellations, received in writing by January 29, 2020, less a $25.00 processing fee. In addition, a processing fee of $50.00 per registration will be charged for credit cards declined.

For a comprehensive listing of NASPA registration policies, please visit this page.

NASPA Events
Event Registration Support
Email: events@naspa.org
Phone: (202) 265-7500


The Schedule is subject to change. All times listed in Eastern.

February 24
February 25
February 26

All Times are Listed in Eastern Time

10:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Symposium Information Desk Open

1:00 PM - 4:30 PM

Exhibitor Hall

1:00 PM - 4:30 PM

Pre-Symposium Workshops

All Times are Listed in Eastern Time

10:00 AM - 5:30 PM

Symposium Information Desk Open

10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Exhibitor Hall

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Opening Session and Plenary

12:15 PM - 1:15 PM

Concurrent Sessions I


11.5 Ways to Adapt your Vet Services to Effective Remote Operation

Abstract: You were just beginning to believe your veteran services program was becoming effective and well utilized. Then the pandemic hit. The world was turned upside down and now you need to deliver everything virtually. Learn some new and revisit some old ideas on making your virtual service as effective (maybe) as it was in person.  While you're at it, share some of your own ideas.

Presenter(s): Robert Mayer, Director of Veteran Services, Mount Wachusett Community College

Establishing Advisory Councils for the Campus Veteran Office

Abstract: Veteran offices can benefit from establishing external and internal advisory councils. External councils may include industry professionals, employers, alumni, and community members. Internal councils may include faculty, staff, and representatives from campus departments. Outcomes from creating councils include opportunities for funding, networking, employment, collaboration, information exchange, and advocacy. The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) has implemented both types of councils and will provide fundamental details and lessons learned related to council formation, budget/cost, membership, meetings, recognition, and outcomes.

Presenter(s): Lisa Adams, Director for the Military and Veteran Center, The University of Texas at Dallas

The TCU Veterans Project: Increasing Empowerment and Visibility Through Storytelling

Abstract: This session will help others gain an understanding of the transition student veterans experience on campus and an understanding of how sharing stories can provide connection and support the academic experience. It will particularly benefit those that work with marginalized populations in various spaces, which may include universities, private industry, or even social spaces. The presentation outlines a model that can be used to help individuals tell their story

Presenter(s): April Brown, Director for Veterans Services, Texas Christian University

Transition Assistance Program (TAP) as a path to Higher Education Revealed

Abstract: Working with Service members as they transition into the collegiate environment can be difficult, especially if you are unaware of the information they received from DoD during transition. This session is designed to fix that, to make you an informed stud

Presenter(s): Melinda Manyx, Policy and Curriculum Program Manager, Military-Civilian Transition Office, Department of Defense

1:30 PM - 2:30 PM

Concurrent Sessions 2


Female Student Service Member's Higher Education and Military Transitions

Abstract: Female student service members are a unique sector of the military-connected student population, and countless juggle college coursework with their military responsibilities. This presentation focuses on transitions female student service members make between military and higher education settings, their support systems, motivation for degree completion and retention, and ways they utilize campus resources while encouraging participant discussion and reflection on the subject matter.

Presenter(s): Sophie Cieslicki, Graduate Student, Eastern Illinois University; Jon Coleman, Assistant Professor, Eastern Illinois University

Implementing the Value-Add Model in Your Veteran Center

Abstract: Our unique value-add model approach to serving student Veterans has led to Colorado State University being recognized as the #2 ranked institution for serving student Veterans. This interactive session includes live polls, breakout room discussions, and a Q & A portion that will allow participants to leave with key strategies for effectively implementing the value-add model in their own Student Veteran Center. Participants will also gain approaches and steps to help make their Veteran Center's culture more dynamic.

Presenter(s): Lisa Chandler, Assistant Director/Acting Director, Colorado State University; Brianna Ridenour, Coordinator of Student Engagement, Colorado State University

Speaking their Language: Translation and Military Support Services in a Virtual Environment

Abstract: This interactive presentation will focus on strategies for transitioning a military student success center to a virtual environment. Although many similar success centers recently made the transition to virtual environments, we will present several unique characteristics that contributed to our success of achieving over 90% satisfaction with a group of over 120 Active Duty soldiers. The program will provide participants with concrete strategies and tools to achieve similar success in their own student support roles.

Presenter(s): Heather Turner, Director of Research and Policy, University of Louisville; Taylor Pratt, Program Manager for the Master Educator Course, University of Louisville

2:45 PM - 3:45 PM

Concurrent Sessions 3


Building Blended Interventions for Veteran Success in a Virtual World

Abstract: This session will introduce learners to a suite of free online tools created to support active duty service members and military-connected students at three crucial moments of transition: navigating the college admissions process, achieving success in the college classroom, and securing meaningful employment after service or school. Come learn about these exciting, zero-cost resources and how you can utilize them to build high-touch, blended interventions to support veteran success in an increasingly virtual world.

Presenter(s): Robert Jenkins, Curriculum Designer, Columbia University 

Informing Improved Recognition of Military Learning

Abstract: This session shares early findings from a study exploring student veterans' experiences with, and perceptions of, having their military learning recognized by postsecondary institutions as they pursue a credential, with the goal of (1) developing a better understanding of the challenges veterans face in receiving recognition of their learning by postsecondary institutions, and (2) informing and supporting institutions' efforts to address that challenge. Participants will also engage in collaborative idea generation and sharing around their own experiences supporting student veterans' learning recognition.

Presenter(s): Jessica Mason, Researcher, American Institutes for Research

Making Moves: Strategies to Increase Student Veteran Engagement

Abstract: Is there a pattern of low engagement among student veterans at your institution? Modeling peer-leadership and utilizing a facilitator-like advising model, student veteran leaders have identified programs that have succeeded in encouraging engagement between student veterans and the veteran resource and support center. Using guided breakout rooms & interactive virtual activities, this presentation will open a discussion on how to use literature and assessment-based data to improve program development and increase student veteran interaction with student veteran organizations on campus.

Presenter(s): Amanda Coronado, Graduate Assistant, Texas A&M University; Robert Liu, Peer Advisor, Texas A&M University; Adrian Mendoza, Peer Advisor, Texas A&M University

4:00 PM - 4:30 PM

Learning Labs 1


Advising as a Critical Component of Student Veteran Success

Abstract: Advising (academic or otherwise) is a critical though often underutilized component of the military-connected and student veteran experience. The presenters of this session will discuss current best practices in advising military-connected and student veteran populations. They will discuss the potential impact of current student affairs and advising theories on student veteran success in higher education, and will challenge current advising-related stereotypes. Audience members will engage in guided discussions examining their own campus' advising principles, practices, and approach to student veteran support through advising offices (or lack thereof). Participants will also leave with an understanding of the top 5 principles for practitioners advising military-connected students developed by the presenters.

Presenter(s): Crisann Hanes, Graduate Advisor, Colorado State University; Bob Heckrote, Academic Advisor for Military and Undeclared Students, Bloomsburg University

PLA’s and the Forgotten Impact on Student Veterans

Abstract: Prior Learning Assessments (PLA) in higher education are a way for students to progress their journey in higher education at a quicker pace. Student Veterans are one of the largest growing demographics in higher education. Even with the current emphasis on student development, little is known about how military experience translates into higher education. So where do PLA's fit into this and how prepared are institutions to support transitions veterans to successful students with credit awarding?

Presenter(s): Tiffany Baker-Strothkamp, Transition and Support Coordinator, University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus

Veterans Navigating Transition Journeys into Corporate Leadership – Emerging Implications for Higher Education.

Abstract: The competitive landscape in today's digital age is complex and uncertain. Corporations must "innovate or die" as the pace of technological change accelerates and business models shift. Against this backdrop, many military veterans are thriving in corporate leadership roles bringing relevant attributes honed from their service. Based on recent research exploring the transition pathways of veterans into corporate leadership, this session explores the emerging implications for the role of higher education in supporting their journeys.

Presenter(s): William Baas, Vice President, Talent/Captain, U.S. Navy Reserve, Comcast NBCUniversal/U.S. Navy

4:35 PM - 5:05 PM

Learning Labs 2


9 Considerations for Supporting First-Generation Military-Connected Students

Abstract: As more and more arrive on college campuses, first-generation college students continue to cite the individualistic nature of higher education as a barrier to student success. This learning lab session will explore the nature of military-connected first-generation college students at colleges and universities, examine barriers that impede their success, and analyze considerations that college and university administrators (in both military-connected spaces and first-generation student success spaces) should examine that can positively influence the thriving, sense of belonging, persistence, retention, and completion.

Presenter(s): Brett Bruner, Dean of Student Engagement, Arkansas Tech University; Shelly Hall, Coordinator of Veterans Services, Arkansas Tech University

How to Collect Information and Develop a Campus-Wide Training

Abstract: You don't have a lot of time or resources to collect data, build a campus-wide training, and advocate for additional resources. This learning lab will help lay the groundwork for doing all three with a small time investment. You'll learn about available databases, passive data collection, and strategic campus partnerships to help build the case you know is already there.

Presenter(s): Chelsea O'Brien, Coordinator of Tutoring & Academic Support, SUNY Genesee Community College

5:05 PM - 6:00 PM

Town Hall and Networking

All times shown are in Eastern Time

10:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Symposium Information Desk Open

10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Exhibitor Hall

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Networking Reception

12:15 PM - 1:15 PM

Concurrent Sessions 4


Engaging Student Veterans in the COVID-19 Cyber Environment: Developing an Effective Virtual Service Model for Veterans Resource Centers

Abstract: Veterans Resource Centers across the country have had to pivot along with all other student services and programs in an immediate shift to virtual programming and service offerings. With this quick modification to service modalities, many planned for only temporary virtual services.  With the continued need to operate in a cyber environment, this session will introduce administrators to a developing framework being implemented to engage student Veterans and military-connected students through an effective virtual service model for Veterans Resource Centers.

Presenter(s): Desiree A Campos Marquez, Manager   Veterans Resource Center, Mt. San Antonio College; Jazmin Vargas, VRC Coordinator, Mt. San Antonio College; Bernard Somers, Professor of Counseling, Mt. San Antonio College

Overcoming the Challenges To Success for Student Veterans with Disabilities

Abstract: As researchers expand their understanding of the impact of both TBI and PTS, academic practice and services should adjust to provide trauma-informed support and increase the success of student Veterans with acquired disabilities. This presentation of the most salient information and approaches and actions which lead to increased student success seeks to provide both emerging research and advancing practice for higher education professionals. The presentation provides non-clinicians a general overview in addition to sharing successful outcomes.

Presenter(s): Janine Wert, Director   Veterans Services, University of Massachusetts Lowell 

Transfer and Military-Affiliated Community College Students

Abstract: In this presentation, I investigate the transfer process between community colleges and four-year institutions for military-affiliated community college students. Drawing on a larger longitudinal study of transfer-intending community college students, in this session I present a deep dive into the military-affiliated students in this study, including their transfer journeys and plans. The findings suggest that receiving military benefits encourages students to pursue behaviors that contribute to a successful transfer process. I also offer implications for practice.

Presenter(s): Saralyn McKinnon-Crowley, Graduate Research Assistant, The University of Texas at Austin

1:30 PM - 2:30 PM

Concurrent Sessions 5


Advancing Veteran Entrepreneurship Through Education

AbstractFor decades, veterans have engaged in entrepreneurial activity at higher rates than nonveterans. While veterans are driven and have entrepreneurial characteristics, they often lack the education and the know-how to establish, run, and sustain a business. This presentation shares the outcomes and takeaways of the 2020 National Survey of Military-Affiliated Entrepreneurship completed by 1,859 veterans. Participants will gain knowledge and understanding of resources, tools, and programs needed to establish and/or enhance campus-based resources and services critical to veteran entrepreneurship outcomes.

Presenter(s): Mirza Tihic, Entrepreneurship Research Fellow, Syracuse University; Rosalinda Maury, Director of Applied Research, Institute for Veterans and Military Families - Syracuse University

Veteran Peer Advising: DePaul Universities Approach to “Coaching” Military Connected Students

Abstract: DePaul University implemented a "Coaching" program for our military connected students three years ago. This program has continued to grow and adapt based on regular student feedback, including changing name to "Veteran Peer Advising." It has grown into a robust program that is seen as valuable to our military connected student community. In this session, attendees will learn about coaching theory, the importance this plays with military connected students, and learn from institutions and their best practices in this arena.

Presenter(s): Megan Giedraitis, Assistant Director of Adult   Veteran   Commuter Student Affairs, DePaul University

Warrior Wellness: The war after the war

Abstract: This session will inform on the theory of student involvement within veteran student collegiate communities through specialized holistic wellness programming by way of implementation of a Warrior Wellness week and military student check-ins designed to use local resources and collaboration efforts to improve mental health, boost resiliency, and enhance school retention of military connected students. Recommendations for student affairs practitioners, school certifying officials and professionals associated with student veterans will be provided.

Presenter(s): Connie Johnson, Coordinator for Veteran Affairs, South Dakota State University

2:45 PM - 3:15 PM

Learning Labs 3


Advancing Navy STEM Workforce through Education and Research

Abstract: The presenters will share information and provide data regarding the San Diego State University (SDSU) Advancing Navy STEM Workforce through Education and Research (ANSWER) program (funded by the Office of Naval Research) that is designed to improve the recruitment, retention, and graduation of a diverse and qualified STEM workforce through the strategic nested integration of four proven education interventions in collaboration with local community colleges, the Mathematics, Engineering Science Achievement Program (MESA) and the Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific (NIWC-Pacific).

Presenter(s): Theresa Garcia, Assistant Dean, San Diego State University

Engaging from Aspiration to Graduation

Abstract: As the Cheshire Cat suggested, "if you don't know where you are going any road will take you there." The purpose of this session is to highlight a pathway that military members travel from aspirations of college to transition, application, enrollment, graduation and job placement.  Recognizing such pathways exists enable practitioners - such as UGA's SVRC -  to design and develop programming that anticipates student veteran needs and deliver interventions at the most appropriate time, place, and manner.

Presenter(s): Mandy Levi, Assistant Director, University of Georgia

Students That Serve: Supporting National Guard and Reserve Students

Abstract: Students who serve in the National Guard or Reserve face unique challenges among the student veteran population. This session will examine University of Texas at Dallas' efforts to provide resources, programs, services, and policies to support these students. The program will also cover efforts to educate host institutions about the challenges serving students face. Finally, challenges and a case study will be discussed among attendees and beset practices will be shared.

Presenter(s): Alex Rodriguez, Assistant Director   Military and Veteran Center, University of Texas at Dallas

3:20 PM - 3:50 PM

Learning Labs 4


Training Program Design: Preparing Faculty to Engage with Military Affiliated Students

Abstract: Students who serve in the National Guard or Reserve face unique challenges among the student veteran population. This session will examine University of Texas at Dallas' efforts to provide resources, programs, services, and policies to support these students. The program will also cover efforts to educate host institutions about the challenges serving students face. Finally, challenges and a case study will be discussed among attendees and beset practices will be shared.

Presenter(s): Terra Gargano, Professor, American University School of International Service

Training VA Work Study Students Online: A Practical Guide for Supervisors

Abstract: This session explores the challenges and benefits of developing an online training course for a VA Work Study Program (VAWS) at the University of Kansas (KU). Supervisors of student employees will learn practical tips and best practices for developing online training through Blackboard, VoiceThread, Zoom, and YouTube. Participants will engage in effective practice sharing as a group to discuss ways to support our diverse workers in an online era further.

Presenter(s): Steven Brockschmidt, Graduate Assistant, The University of Kansas; April Blackmon Strange, Director, The University of Kansas; Sean Navarro, Assistant Director, The University of Kansas

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Closing Plenary

Learning Themes and Outcomes

Developing Online Student Support Services
  • Identify tools or systems which provide access to students in greatest need of educational opportunities and accessibility
  • Evaluate current practices on moving support services online
  • Create ways to engage military-connected students in unconventional, but accessible ways
  • Determine the workload necessary to meet ADA standards for online services
Establishing, Utilizing, and Improving Campus Resources
  • Identify ways campus partners can support military-connected students
  • Evaluate methods, current research, and best practices institutions can employ to improve military-connected student persistence, retention, key performance indicators (KPIs),  success, and/or program completion
  • Analyze potential costs, benefits, and/or barriers for building and maintaining dedicated resources, personnel, and/or spaces for military-connected students
Advocating for Diverse Military-Connected Student Identities and Populations
  • Identify and recognized the multiple subpopulations within the military-connected identity and their unique challenges
  • Understand the intersectionality of identity, as well as underserved racial/ethnic/religious groups, women-identifying veterans, and LGBTQIA+ experiences
  • Identify potential problems or barriers campus resource centers may present to students with multiple identities
  • Identify and understand the significance of cross-campus collaboration and partnership
  • Describe the needs of military-connected students with mental health concerns, and engage in critical discourse about inclusive campus student-veteran support practices
Developing the Future of Higher Education for Military-Connected Students
  • Analyze current national enrollment trends and share strategies on how institutions can improve their approaches to military-connected student support
  • Evaluate and describe current research findings, identify gaps in research and/or interpret findings as they relate to supporting military-connected students
  • Understand how the current landscape on policy, at the national, state, and local levels relate to military-connected students

SMCS: Sponsor and Exhibit

Interested in exhibiting and sponsorship? Complete the sponsor and exhibit application and submit it to Kristie Jacobsen Jerde at kjerde@naspa.org. Priority deadline is January 29, 2021. Have questions? Email Kristie or call her at 218-280-7578.