Program at Baylor helps veterans transition to civilian life

Posted at 10:23 PM, Oct 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-13 00:07:28-04

For U.S. service members, transitioning from active-duty to civilian life is tough. For many, starting college years after most people do, makes things more difficult.

A program at Baylor, called the Veteran Educational and Transition Services or VETS, is trying to help with that transition. The program started in 2012.

"Our aim is to take a look at all of the wonderful things we do at Baylor for our student population. And then really look strategically and uniquely at our student veterans and identify ways that because of their unique backgrounds and perspectives they have and assets they bring to Baylor, how can we better serve them and maximize their Baylor experience," Sgt. Kevin Davis, program director for the VETS program at Baylor University, said.

Davis, a Marine Corps veteran, understands the transition from being in the service to higher education.

The program hopes to help veterans in their academic success at the university. They offer a veterans transition course, academic support and career and professional development.

"Typically the biggest struggles are finding that system of pure support again. We come from this world of really deep ingrained comradery, brotherhood and sisterhood. That's hard to replace when you aren't in foxholes with each other," Davis said.

Ssgt. Clayton Tynes served as a structural engineers in the United States Air Force for about seven and a half years.

After leaving active-duty, he started at Baylor.

"In my first week of class, I looked around and everyone in class was 9 or 10 years younger than me and I didn't really know anybody and I felt really really isolated," Tynes said.

 Tynes said the VETS program has helped him in his transition. The program opened a lounge, specifically for veterans at Baylor, in August. 

"When we're in this lounge, it's kind of a place of our own. We all come in here to study, to hang out and it knocks away that feeling of isolation I remember having," Tynes said. "It's great meeting people from all the different branches that are from so many different places and hearing this story and that story and we were over here, we were deployed over there. But at the end of the day, now that we're at Baylor, we're all fighting the same battle now. We're all coming together, helping each other succeed."

Baylor is ranked 38th among national universities in the Best Colleges for Veterans ranking.

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