Robert Sheetz spent five years in the U.S. Navy, working on a flight deck, fixing fighter jets. When he got out, the Colorado native came to Wyoming—to put his GI Bill benefit toward an anthropology degree.
“I was a 23-year-old freshman coming into the University of Wyoming, coming from an area where I had a huge structure system around me from being in the military,” Sheetz said. “So I had to kind of learn to build that system for myself and figure out how to be a college student after not being in school for five years.”
Higher education institutions from around Wyoming are working together to develop strategies to better serve military veterans on their campuses.
The first-of-its-kind, three-day conference features representatives from colleges and vocational schools statewide. They say veterans returning to civilian life face challenges and have special needs—and entering into a higher education setting adds to that.
Conference organizer Marty Martinez is project coordinator at UW’s Veterans Services Center. He says becoming a veteran-friendly school is easier said than done.
Gretchen Wheeler grew up in Nebraska and moved to Wyoming to teach in the Communications Department at Casper College. As a “non-native” Wyomingite, Gretchen shares her observations of the cultural differences between Wyoming and Nebraska.
Bill Schilling is the president of the Wyoming Business Alliance. He was instrumental in getting the Hathaway scholarship passed through the legislature, and he says it’s one of his greatest accomplishments.
The Hathaway allows students to get money for college if they meet certain academic criteria. Here, Schilling talks with former dean of the UW Business School Brent Hathaway. (In case you were wondering – no, the scholarship is not named after him.) Schilling recalls how the Hathaway scholarship came to be.
Last month, Bob Sternberg took over as the new president of the University of Wyoming. In recent weeks, has explained that he wants UW to attempt to be an inclusive University that doesn’t focus on things like a student’s ACT scores, and rather looks more at the whole package.
President Sternberg tells Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck that it’s more important to make sure students are properly prepared for higher education, and their future is much more important than test scores.