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Organization preparing veterans for college on Notre Dame's campus

NOW: Organization preparing veterans for college on Notre Dame’s campus

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – An organization that prepares veterans for the demands of the academic world is at the University of Notre Dame this week.

The Warrior Scholar Project empowers veterans with the skills required for college like academic reading and college level writing. It also aims to prepare them for a changed social culture.

“We’re not focused on trying to make somebody a professional or a pro at like physics or reading, writing whatever it may be that we’re going to do in these two weeks,” said Warrior Scholar Project Assistant Campus Coordinator Eric Wineger. “Our goal is to just provide a skill bridge from that service to school.”

The nonprofit started in 2012. Enlisted veterans that want to transition back to school can choose to attend a free, two week academic boot camp at one of WSP’s 18 partner universities.  

“It’s definitely having a positive influence on the veterans,” said Wineger.

Notre Dame Professor Luis Fraga brought the organization to the university three years ago.

“My dad was in World War II,” said Fraga. “I see this as a way of honoring his service, honoring his legacy.”

More than 30 students have attended WSP at Notre Dame since then.

“I hope they also leave, besides with the excitement for learning, leave with full knowledge that they have the capacity already to excel as university students whatever university they choose to attend,” said Fraga.

Marine Nick Williams is one of 15 students attending this year’s WSP program at Notre Dame.

“I was looking at a STEM program at a college and I [saw] that I could do this veteran related STEM program,” said Williams.

Williams applied to WSP this past winter. He wants to study engineering at the University of Michigan.  

“At the time I had like zero confidence in myself,” said Williams. “Like who do I think I am to go through high school, join the military, and to pursue one of the hardest degrees?”

However, that soon changed after Nick started WSP.

“It’s been eye opening,” said Williams. “Like before, writing was my worst subject. In just this week I’ve learned a lot in like how to kind of structure a paper and research a paper.”

It’s possible proof that some lessons reach far beyond the classroom.

“I think a lot of times coming out of the military feeling like you’re not prepared or that you didn’t do well in school before so how are you going to do better now,” said Wineger.  “We want to let them know that you are capable of this. All the skills that you gained and the life experience that you have can be applied in the academic setting and so you can make this experience great … and you can just continue to dream big.”

“The Warrior Scholar Project is just the first step in my long journey of pursuing higher education and a strong good first step is just the foundation of your path,” said Williams. “I feel like this is essential to pursuing a STEM degree or any kind of challenging degree.”

To learn more about WSP or apply, click here.

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