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Veterans are a vital component of any community, and the university is no exception. At UT, Student Veteran Services in the Office of the Dean of Students helps students successfully navigate the transition from military life to college to career.

Experienced at working toward a shared purpose in a team environment, veterans bring unique strengths and proficiencies to campus. They can feel isolated, however, being older than most of their classmates and perhaps having a family to look after.

Jeremiah Gunderson, director of Student Veteran Services and a veteran himself, gets that. He and his small staff ensure that current and prospective students receive the academic support and career advice they need, and that they are able to make the most of their federal and state benefits. They also are able to connect with other students for social activities and further mentoring.

“We’re empowering our veterans to succeed, not just academically but in life,” Gunderson says. “For the 500-plus who are currently enrolled in classes, as well as their dependents, we make sure they know they’re not in this alone.”

Key to that effort is licensed social worker Jeff Moe, MA ’11, MSSW ’13. Having served in the Army as an Arabic linguist in Afghanistan and Iraq before earning graduate degrees in Middle Eastern studies and social work, Moe now works for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs as UT’s student veteran outreach coordinator.

He counsels students about any adjustment issues they might be facing, helps coordinate medical and mental health care at local VA facilities, and sees that suitable adaptations are made to accommodate disabilities. Group counseling is one of the most valuable services he provides, Moe says.

“I currently lead a combat veteran transition group, and it’s amazing to see the connections that are made—the hope and relief that come from realizing that others are experiencing similar themes in the reintegration process. It’s important to help veterans transition back to civilian life, because many of them have just experienced the loss of a tight-knit community.”

It’s a loss, he says, that is akin to losing a family. All the more reason to welcome these students into the Longhorn family.

Donor support could greatly enhance Student Veteran Services’ ability to help student veterans thriveTo learn more, please contact Maureen Brown, development director for the Division of Student Affairs, by email or at 512-475-6134.

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