Capstones Fall 2013 - page 23

W
hen she was at previous colleges, Sharon
Taylor, a 21-year veteran of the U.S. military, spent
a lot of time on the phone.
“I have spent numerous calls to Veteran Affairs
because they [the colleges] could not answer my
questions, or they did not have someone such as a
military representative that was knowledgeable in
military entitlements, such as the various forms of
the GI Bill.”
Taylor hasn’t had to spend nearly as much time
on the phone to the VA since January 2013, when
she started attending Darton State College.
In November 2011 – on Veterans Day – Darton
opened its Military Resource Center, a one-stop
shop for active-duty service members and military
veterans to get information on the many benefits
available to them and get someone to advocate for
them when the bureaucracy gets in their way of
their education.
At any given time, Darton has about 220
veterans or active-duty members of the Army,
Navy, Air Force, and Marines enrolled. Many,
because of the nature of their work, take online
classes, sometimes on the opposite end of the
globe. “The biggest challenge active duty students
seem to encounter is being able to complete their
coursework without interruption,” said Stefane
Raulerson, who runs Darton’s Military Resource
Center. Taylor knows all about that.
“Sometimes duty calls, and you have to deploy
to maybe a Third World country where you are not
able to attend school due to the mission,” Taylor
said. “This happened to me a lot. I would sign up
for a class, and then would have to withdraw due
to the mission.”
That’s where the center can help, guiding
students toward courses that might be more
conducive to their schedule, and shepherding
them through the red tape of accessing their G.I.
Bill and veterans benefits.
“Sometimes they simply don’t know where
to start or what to do next or how to complete a
certain task, like applying for educational benefits
or changing one’s major,” Raulerson said. “Offering
assistance and support stretches beyond the
office walls of Military and Adult Education – it’s a
campus-wide effort from the first campus visit to
graduation day.”
Darton’s devotion to those who’ve put their
lives on the line in defense of the nation has
been recognized by veterans and such awards
as being designated for the third year in a row
as a “military friendly” campus by publication
company Victory Media.
Darton’s military students don’t need some
outside firm telling them that the faculty and staff
are eager to help their students in the service,
though.
“I think that it is great that that Darton College
has a center
,” Taylor said.
Service m
can reach
Raulerson at
or adult@
darton.edu o
-WAYNE PAR
Serving Darton’s Warriors a Priority
Fall 2013
CAMPUS LIFE
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