Lorenzo Perez served in the U.S. Marines for eight years as a rifleman.
Now out of the service, he's taking on another challenge as he makes the transition back to civilian life — pursuing a college degree.
Helping veterans like Perez navigate the transition from the military to higher education is the Warrior-Scholar Project — a one-week academic “boot-camp” hosted locally by the University of Notre Dame, which seeks to prepare veterans for a future in the academic world.
This is the first year the non-profit Warrior-Scholar Project has come to Notre Dame and Regan Jones, senior project manager for multidisciplinary initiatives on campus, said the university is already planning to host the program again next year as part of Notre Dame’s Military and Veteran Initiative.
The Warrior-Scholar Project started at Yale University in 2012 and this year, 15 universities across the country are hosting students. The program is designed for veterans and active-duty personnel who have not yet completed a bachelor's degree.
“Part of our goal is to make the transition into the civilian world as smooth as possible,” Sidney Ellington, the executive director of the program, said. “Understanding that they’re heading towards higher education, understanding that it’s a vastly different culture than the one from which they’re coming out of.”
Ellington also said gaining confidence is an important way to counteract the uncertainty veterans feel at going back to the classroom — something the Warrior-Scholar Project targets.
“We know that they can handle it, because they’ve handled so much more,” Ellington said. “They’re a lot more powerful than they realize.”
Read the entire story on the South Bend Tribune website.