KU named military-friendly school for 2019

Douglas Benedict Photography, Kutztown University

VIQTORY Media, publisher of G.I. Jobs magazine, STEM Jobs magazine and Military Spouse magazine, has announced that Kutztown University has earned the 2019-2020 Military Friendly School bronze designation. The list has been setting the standard for higher education institutions to provide the best opportunities for veterans and their spouses for the past 10 years.

Kutztown University offers many services for Veterans and Service members including a Veterans Center. KU has a single point-of-contact who provides assistance and coordinates services. To make the pursuit of academic goals more manageable, KU offers military education benefits assistance, academic advising, career planning, counseling and Army ROTC. KU awards credit for military training, CLEP and DANTES. Veterans liaisons are available in key offices, and faculty and staff participate in sensitivity training for veterans.

KU’s advisory board meets regularly to implement veteran-friendly policy, and its Student Veteran Organization provides valuable services to students and the community through their programming and fundraisers.

This year’s institutions earning the Military Friendly School designation were evaluated using public data sources and responses from a proprietary survey. The annual survey is offered to more than 8,800 schools nationwide at no cost, with 766 institutions earning designations in this year’s survey.

The 2019-2020 Military Friendly Schools list will be published in the May issue of G.I. Jobs magazine.

Each year the list of Military Friendly Schools helps service members and their families select the best college, university or trade school to receive the education and training required to pursue a civilian career. This year’s bronze designation indicates that the university is within 30 percent of the 10th-ranked organization.

Methodology, criteria, and weightings were determined by VIQTORY Media with input from the Military Friendly Advisory Council of independent leaders in the higher education and military recruitment community. Final ratings were determined by combining the institution’s survey scores with the assessment of the institution’s ability to meet thresholds for student retention, graduation, job placement, loan repayment, persistence (degree advancement or transfer) and loan default rates for all students and, specifically, for student veterans.

For more information about Kutztown University’s commitment to attracting and supporting military students, visit www.kutztown.edu/veterans. The full list of designated institutions for the 2019-2020 year can be found at https://www.militaryfriendly.com/.

Douglassville native among the SRU ROTC cadets receiving branch assignments

Four cadets from Slippery Rock University’s U.S. Army ROTC program ranked in the top 20 percent of cadets nationwide on the Army’s Order of Merit List, including two in the top 10 percent.

All U.S. Army ROTC cadets studying at colleges and universities across the country, regardless of the size of their institution, are ranked among their class based on criteria such as grade-point average, physical training scores and serving in leadership positions.

Slippery Rock University had two cadets ranked in the top 10 percent and an additional two cadets ranked in the top 20 percent this year out of more than 5,000 senior cadets nationwide, earning them National Distinguished Military Graduate recognition.

Austin Mora, a senior criminology and criminal justice major from Douglassville, is assigned to Signal Corps, National Guard 876th Brigade Engineer Battalion in Washington.

Nicholas Appleby, a senior homeland security major from Eldred, and Tyson Miller, a senior safety management major from Tyrone, ranked in the top 10 percent. Emily Dooley, a senior homeland security major from Walden, N.Y.; and Kathleen Seasock, a senior health science-public health major from Burgettstown, ranked in the top 20 percent.

“That’s indicative of the type of program we have at SRU,” said Capt. Joseph Barrow, assistant professor of military science, who is part of the Army ROTC cadre at SRU. “This shows that our cadets are competing at a high level and we’re producing high quality officers. We have some commanders in the Army who, as soon as they see that a cadet is from SRU, they don’t even need to interview (our graduates); they know that coming from our program that they are going to perform at a very high level and they are accepted for positions throughout the Army. That’s the reputation we have.”

The rankings, known as the Army Order of Merit List, determine preference given to cadets for their branch duty assignments following graduation and commissioning. Last month, 14 cadets from SRU received their branch assignments, many of which were their top two or three choices.

“We’re super proud of what we did and it’s nice to be rewarded for doing the right thing,” said Miller, who was assigned active duty in the coveted Infantry branch. “But it’s more of a relief because now we can concentrate on what we’ve been preparing ourselves to do, instead of putting in work so that we can get the opportunity to do what we want to do.”

Appleby and Miller are often their battalion’s top two finishers, whether it’s sprinting to the finish of a training ruck march or Miller returning to a German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge competition at Indiana University of Pennsylvania to redeem a silver-medal finish; Appleby won gold at the event, which measured competency in physical fitness and various soldier skills. During field training exercises, Appleby and Miller’s one-upsmanship would result in both of them conducting drills while wearing their ruck sacks even when the extra gear wasn’t required.

“We all love each other, but the competition between us is going on between everyone around us; it’s throughout the battalion,” Miller said. “It makes you want to strive for more and work harder. It’s not a threatening environment; it’s just competitive … and it’s just so fun.”

The competitiveness and the OML points are not the only thing motivating the cadets to push themselves.

“It’s uncommon to have so many DMGs coming from our battalion and to have so many of us getting our top three (branch assignment preferences),” Appleby said. “That’s a testament to the cadre and leadership that we’ve had throughout our college careers.”

The seniors had three battalion commanders during their four years, Lt. Cols. John Donlin, Jeffrey Barta and Joseph Richey. Appleby and Miller also credit other former and current cadre members, including: Sgt. Jason Vandegrift, former instructor of military science; Brett Rogowitz, advisement, enrollment and scholarship officer; Capt. Adam Readout, assistant professor of military science; Master Sgt. Taylor Donohoe, senior military science instructor; Melvin Carr, assistant professor of military science; Daniel Renaud, supply/logistic technician; Christopher Wolf, human resources assistant; and Staff Sgt. Ryan Graeves, Army National Guard liaison.

Both Appleby and Miller credit Rogowitz for recruiting them to enroll at SRU. Appleby, whose father, Steven, served 27 years in the Army, transferred to SRU from Mansfield University, while Miller turned down an offer to go to Penn State to attend SRU.

“It’s awesome here,” Miller said. “You’re not a number. It’s close-knit. You have a relationship with your mentors here. If someone is leading me I want to know them personally. Here, you can do that. That’s been a key in my development, being able to have those relationships.”

Appleby and Miller were both assigned to active duty, Infantry, and next summer they will report to Infantry School in Fort Benning, Georgia, for five months with the goal of attending Ranger School and a Special Forces assignment.

Of the 14 senior cadets at SRU, 10 were assigned to active duty and three to the National Guard following their May 2019 graduation and commissioning as officers with the rank of second lieutenant.

“It’s a challenging program and those who make it through have really put in the work,” Barrow said. “There are not many jobs where you are going to graduate from college at 22 years old and be immediately thrust into a middle management position and be in charge of people who have already been doing their job for years. It’s crazy when you think about it.”

First solo flight for EMU at Lancaster student-pilot: Marine Corps veteran Christopher Leiva

Christopher Leiva, a student in EMU at Lancaster’s aviation program, poses for a photo after his first solo flight earlier this month. Students in the four-year aviation program begin flight school in their first semester and will eventually earn several flight certifications, as well as a bachelor’s degree in leadership and organizational management. (Photo courtesy of Aero-Tech Services, Inc.)

Christopher Leiva – a first-year student in Eastern Mennonite University’s new leadership and organizational management bachelor’s degree program with a concentration in aviation – has completed his first solo flight.

Leiva, a former U.S. Marine, decided to become a pilot, he writes below, as a passenger in a flight over the Persian Gulf, so high he could cover countries with the span of his hand. Although his celebration of his first solo flight may have been subtle, it was an important accomplishment in his lifelong passion for travel freedom.

A resident of Blandon, Pennsylvania, Leiva soloed on Oct. 25. His flight instructor is Mitchel Shenk.

He answered a few questions about his passion for flying:

Why are you interested in aviation and when did you make the decision that this was in your future?

Freedom of travel has always been of the utmost importance to me. It started when I got my driver’s license, then my motorcycle license, then my boating license. But the source of that freedom most rewarding to me is flying. The decision to make flying a part of my future, and actually being behind the controls, occurred when I took my first flight as a passenger in a V-22 Osprey. I was gazing out the rear of the aircraft as we flew around the Persian Gulf. As I stared I stretched the fingers of my hand and noticed that I covered several countries with my span. I remember thinking to myself, “The next time I do this, I’m going to be behind the controls.” It doesn’t have to be a military aircraft, but I would just like to experience that feeling again and again.

What was your first solo experience like?

I was fairly confident with my abilities to communicate with air traffic control, taxi the runway, take off, fly the pattern, and land safely. The winds were calm and the sky was clear so it literally was a smooth ride.

Did you do anything special to celebrate this big step in your career?

I celebrated by reflecting on this accomplishment as I stared at a C-17 parked at the west ramp. I pondered the next steps in the program at EMU and Aero-Tech Services, and how far I’ve come and how much closer I am to accomplishing my goals.

Why did you choose Lancaster at EMU for your professional preparation?

There are several reasons I chose EMU at Lancaster. The leadership and organizational management degree has real world application and relevance. The aviation concentration provided the opportunity to fly and to begin a career in aviation. Its schedule is convenient for adult students and is definitely worth the forty-five minute commute.

What have you most enjoyed about the program?

I enjoy the interaction with peers in the program. There’s a comraderie between us because we’re all working toward similar goals. I enjoy the schedule because it allows ample time to attend to our other affairs such as work and family. But what I enjoy the most is actually being behind the controls during flight training.

What are your professional goals?

My professional goals are to fly for a state or government agency. I’m also interested in flying charter flights around the Caribbean and Central America.

Mission BBQ and Kutztown University to Host Military Appreciation Night at Tuesday Night’s Wrestling Match on Nov. 20

11/15/2018 | Wrestling

KUTZTOWN – The Kutztown University athletic department, in conjunction with sponsor Mission BBQ in Wyomissing, are teaming up to host Military Appreciation Night at this Tuesday’s wrestling match on Nov. 20.

Mission BBQ will host a pre-match, complimentary dinner for all active and former military personnel beginning at 6:00 p.m. in Keystone Hall, Room 129. Mission BBQ will supply food for the first 50 attendees, so be sure to arrive early. Match time is set for 7:00 p.m.

No registration is required.

Prior to the match, KU will recognize its Kutztown University Veterans Spirit award, in conjunction with the KU Veterans Office. Pre-match ceremonies are slated for 6:50 p.m.

Mission BBQ will be handing out free gift bags to the first 100 veterans in attendance, including free sandwich coupons, a can coozie, and more. They will also giveaway two $50 gift cards as prizes during the night.

For more information on Mission BBQ’s commitment to our police, fire, first responders and military personnel, check out www.mission-bbq.com.

“Women and the Great War: Posters from the Collection of Pamela Tronsor”

“Women and the Great War: Posters from the Collection of Pamela Tronsor” on display at Elizabethtown College

American posters depicting women as icons of and workers for the war effort available for viewing through Dec. 1

Elizabethtown College is hosting “Women and the Great War: Posters from the Collection of Pamela Tronsor” in Hess Gallery in Zug Memorial Hall through Dec. 1. This collection of propaganda posters from World War I includes American posters focusing on women as icons of and workers for the war effort as depicted by the leading graphic artists of the time.

In order to sell the war to the American people, the majority of whom had been opposed to intervention in the European conflict, the U.S. Government’s Committee on Public Information created a Division of Pictorial Publicity. In a span of less than two years, approximately 2,500 poster designs and approximately 20 million posters-nearly one for every four citizens-were produced.

These colorful posters, often depicting women, were on display in many public places during the First World War-such as train stations and post offices-as well as on the sides of buildings and in shop windows. In the emergence of modern day advertising, these posters marked the first time that advertising techniques were used for propaganda purposes on such a mass scale. Urging citizens to buy war bonds and war savings stamps, as well as encouraging recruitment, were goals of the displayed posters.

Tronsor explains that “at the time America entered the war in 1917, these posters must have seemed Continue reading ““Women and the Great War: Posters from the Collection of Pamela Tronsor””

SUICIDE PREVENTION: Nov. 11 is Veteran’s Day

Nov. 11 is Veteran’s Day

The rate of suicide is a problem for all in the U.S. and is significantly higher among veterans. According to the V.A. National Suicide Data Report | U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs, there were more than 6,000 Veteran suicides each year from 2008 to 2016. In 2016, the suicide rate was 1.5 times greater for Veterans than for non-Veteran adults, after adjusting for age and gender. Programs and services have been established to help veterans and their loved ones.

Veterans in crisis and their loved ones can call, text, or chat to connect with caring VA responders at the free and confidential Veterans Crisis Line. Responders are qualified to deal with any immediate crisis.

If you are a Veteran or you know a Veteran who is showing any of these signs, call the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat, or text to 838255.

To learn more about the issue of Veteran suicide as well as VA mental health resources, please visit www.mentalhealth.va.gov, where you’ll find the latest national and state-level research.

Veterans and their loved ones also can visit MakeTheConnection.net to explore information on mental health issues and hear stories from Veterans who have faced challenges like theirs, including posttraumatic stress disorder, substance use problems, transitioning from service, and more.

International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day is Nov. 17, 2018

Find the Survivor Day Nearest You at https://afsp.org/find-support/ive-lost-someone/survivor-day/.

About Survivor Day

Survivor Day is the one day a year when people affected by suicide loss gather around the world at events in their local communities to find comfort and gain understanding as they share stories of healing and hope. On Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018, loss survivors will gather around the globe in small and large events while growing together in their grief journey.

Survivor Day Calendar go to https://afsp.org/find-support/ive-lost-someone/survivor-day/



Kutztown University to honor veterans, service members for “National Veterans Awareness Week” Nov. 5 through 9

Kutztown University to honor veterans, service members for “National Veterans Awareness Week” Nov. 5 through 9

KUTZTOWN – Kutztown University is set to host events on campus from Nov. 5 through 9, for its annual support of “National Veterans Awareness Week,” hosted by KU’s Office of Veterans Services.

Events are free and open to the public. Military members and military-affiliated students, faculty and staff are encouraged to attend.

Last week, KU was named “Best for Vets” by Military Times for the fifth-straight year. Kutztown was ranked 75th among four-year schools, its highest ranking in school history. Read more.

For more information about Veterans Awareness Week at Kutztown, contact the Office of Veterans Services at veterans@kutztown.edu.

Robeson Elementary Center offers its 23rd annual Veterans Day program Friday, Nov. 9, at 9 a.m.

Robeson Elementary Center offers its 23rd annual Veterans Day program Friday, Nov. 9, at 9 a.m.

The students and staff of Robeson Elementary Center would like to extend our many thanks to the men and women who have given of their lives to protect and defend our country. Again this year, Robeson Elementary students will participate in a program to honor veterans.

State Representative Gillen will speak at the program, and participating veteran David Rissell will bring an authentic World War II military vehicle to the celebration.

This program started 25 years ago at the Honey Brook Elementary Center with Mrs. Dieffenbach teaching the students to sing the Armed Forces songs. Since then, Dieffenbach brought the idea to Robeson and it has grown over the years with our passion to teach children the importance of honoring veterans.

This year’s theme is “Respect is Our Choice.” Our program is dedicated to all veterans. With great respect, honor and gratitude, we salute them for giving the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedom.

On Nov. 9, 2018, veterans will be served breakfast at 9 a.m., followed by a program in recognition of Continue reading “Robeson Elementary Center offers its 23rd annual Veterans Day program Friday, Nov. 9, at 9 a.m.”

Lt. Col. Shawn Shutts of Macungie to take command of Syracuse-based New York National Guard Battalion on Oct. 20

U.S. Army Lt. Col. Shawn J. Shutts, deputy commander of the 369th Sustainment Brigade (SB), and Maj. Navin Kalicharan, operations officer of the 369th SB, New York Army National Guard, are presented the Shield of Saint Christopher by Col. Stephen Bousquet, commander of the 369th SB, during a ceremony at Camp Smith, N.Y., June 2, 2018. The Military Order of Saint Christopher recognizes those individuals who have made significant contributions to the U.S. Army Transportation Corps. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Jeremy Bratt)

Lt. Col. Shawn Shutts of Macungie to take command of Syracuse-based New York National Guard Battalion on Oct. 20

Iraq War veteran will lead the 427th Brigade Support Battalion, which is headquartered in Syracuse

New York National Guard Lt. Col. Shawn Shutts, a Macungie resident and veteran of the Iraq War, will take command of the 427th Brigade Support Battalion during a ceremony at the National Guard Armory at Fort Drum near Watertown Saturday, Oct.20.

The 427th Brigade Support Battalion is headquartered in Syracuse and has elements in Rochester, Fort Drum and Buffalo as well.

The battalion provides logistical support for the 4,000 Soldiers of the New York National Guard’s 27th Infantry Brigade Combat team.

Shutts replaces Lt. Col. Patrick Clare, a Clifton Park resident and who has commanded the battalion since 2015.

Shutts was commissioned from the Reserve Officer’s Training Corps program at Bucknell University and graduated from Lycoming College in Pennsylvania. He is trained as a field artillery, logistician and public affairs officer.

While serving as the fire support officer for the 2-14 Infantry and Battery Commander for B Battery 2-15 Field Artillery, Shutts deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom twice and again in support of Operation Spartan Shield with the 369th Sustainment Brigade as the support operations officer.

Upon redeployment from Kuwait, Shutts was assigned as the Deputy Commander of the 369th Sustainment Brigade and also serving as the Brigade Administrative Officer.

Shutts’ awards and decorations include; the Bronze Star Medal , the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terror Expeditionary and Service Medals and the Parachutist Badge. He has also been awarded the LTG Aubrey Newman award for Leadership, as well as the Honorable Orders of St. Barbara and St. Christopher.

He is married to the former Ms. Lisa Schmehl and they have two daughters, Caroline, 12, and Abigail, 9.