CUNY Veteran Professionals

Lisa Beatha, Director of CUNY Veterans' Affairs Office

Lisa Beatha

Director of Veterans Affairs at  the City University of New York (CUNY)
Lisa Beatha  served in  the U.S. Army during the Gulf War era and trained as a 91 Alpha (Army Medic) at Fort Sam Houston in Texas.  Since 2001, Ms. Beatha has earned both her undergraduate and graduate degree from CUNY.  From 2003-2008 she was an  Assistant Registrar at the College of Staten Island, in which role she was responsible for the evaluation of transfer credits for domestic, international, and military courses. Then, from 2008-2013, she served as the CUNY Central Director of Transfer Information. Read More

Currently, Ms. Beatha serves as the University Director of Veterans Affairs for the CUNY Central Office, where her responsibilities include supporting and fostering change for the 3,000 veterans enrolled in CUNY and facilitating the transition of veterans from the military to academia. She has been charged with advancing CUNY’s commitment to student veteran access and success in their post-deployment education and careers. To do this, she promotes collaboration and partnership within and across campuses, as well as between CUNY and community partners. In this way, she hopes to increase awareness and sensitivity to veterans’ unique needs.

In her role as the University Director of Veterans Affairs, Ms. Beatha manages university-wide activities to help veterans transition from the military to academic life. Much of this work is accomplished through her leadership of CUNY’s Council on Veterans Affairs, which conducts targeted outreach and assessment of veteran needs and resources across CUNY. She is particularly passionate about the issues women veterans face as well as about student outreach, retention, academic equity for credentials, and the enhancement of programs and services for CUNY’s veterans, guard, reservists, and military family members.

Ms. Beatha has been a member of American Association of Collegiate Registrars (AACRAO) as well as of the Council of College &  Military Educators (CCME). She has also been a member of the Department of Defense’s (DOD) Academic Credentialing Taskforce, which is a collaboration of representatives from Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL), the Department of Defense, the Department of Veteran Affairs and the Department of Education. Recently, she was nominated by her peers to represent the North East/Region 1 IHLs as a  board member of National Association of Veterans’ Program Administrators (NAVPA).

Robert Ptachik, Senior University Dean for the Executive Office and Enrollment

Robert Ptachik

Senior University Dean for the Executive Office and Enrollment
Robert Ptachik, CUNY’s Senior University Dean for the Executive Office and Enrollment, served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. In addition to supervising the Office of Executive Search and Evaluation, the Office of Admission Services, University Application Processing Center, and the University Office of Student Financial Assistance, his responsibilities include serving as liaison to the New York State Education Department and the Middle States Association, in addition to other assignments in the Office of Academic Affairs. Previously, he served as Deputy to the President at Adelphi University, and as Associate Provost for Academic Administration at Baruch College. Read More

He has over 20 years of experience in higher education administration and ten years of teaching experience in business and management. He received his Ph.D. in Public Administration at the Robert F. Wagner School for Public Service at New York

CUNY veteran Roger Sherwood

Roger Sherwood

Associate Professor of Hunter School of Social Work and Director of PROVE Program
U.S. Army
Dr. Roger Sherwood has been an Associate Professor at Hunter College School of Social Work since 1979. He has published literature in the areas of veterans, Post Traumatic Stress, dialysis patient compliance and gerontology. He has been a clinical consultant at the Hudson Valley Veterans Health Care System – Montrose Campus since 1986 where he treats Vietnam veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He was one of the initial organizers for the Annual Conference called “Still Hidden Clients: Veterans and Their Loved Ones”, which started in 1983. Read More

He has been a consultant for Sherwood Associates, Inc., an eldercare planning and management company, since its inception in 1991. He is an avid tennis player and for the past six years has been a volunteer assistant coach to the men’s tennis team at Binghamton University.

CUNY veteran Dennis Torres

Dennis Torres

Queens College
Dennis Torres is Veterans Outreach Specialist at Queens College. Dennis is a two-time Iraq combat veteran with eight years of service within the Selective Marine Corps Reserve, specializing within the communications field. During his time in the corps, he earned a BA in Labor Studies from Hofstra University, and an MA in Industrial Psychology from Adelphi University. Since completing his service, Dennis spent two-and-a-half years as a Veterans Specialist with New York City’s Workforce1 – Veteran Priority1 program, specializing in assisting veterans and their spouses find employment. Read More

After gaining invaluable skills with Workforce1, he searched for an organization that would grant him the opportunity to give back to fellow veterans. CUNY-Queens College has made that dream come true while permitting him to use what he learned from his master’s degree. Striving to assist veterans, military personnel, and dependents in pursuing their academic and civilian careers, he has brought ambition and energy to the campus, spurring growth in the Veterans Support Office.   He has a passion for assisting veterans, military personnel, and dependents in pursuing their academic and civilian careers. Dennis is a proud uncle of eight nieces and nephews and enjoys playing indoor soccer, and cycling. 

4th Annual Veterans Academic Awards, Friday, Nov. 4th, 2016, CUNY Graduate Center.

Robert Timmins

Robert Timmins, LMSW  is the Veteran Support Services Coordinator for NYC College of Technology.  Prior to his position with CUNY, Rob was a social worker for the City of New York for several years and also a former Field Director for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. Rob is a combat veteran who served as an Infantryman with the 101st Airborne Division in Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2003 to 2004. Rob earned his Master of Social Work degree from New York University and received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and Anthropology from the College of Staten Island.  In addition to his work at CUNY, Rob is an Adjunct Lecturer at NYU and continues to serve his country as a Non-Commissioned Officer in the Army Reserve.

CUNY veteran at the 4th Annual Veterans Academic Awards ceremony

Christopher Gorman

City College
Christopher Gorman is the Veterans Affairs Coordinator at City College of NY. He comes to CCNY with 6 years of experience working with the Veteran community. He started his career in the United States Marine Corps as an Aviation Electrician and was honorably discharged in 2002. After his discharge from the Marines, Chris completed both his BA in Government from John Jay and his MA in History from St. John’s University. In 2006, Chris became a case worker assisting Public Assistance recipients in both their employment and educational searches. Read More

It was during this time that he began working with the Veteran population: helping less fortunate Veterans find housing, clothing, services, and anything else they needed. In 2012, Chris realized the work he was doing wasn’t enough and he decided he needed to pursue his MSW in order to truly serve his fellow Veterans. Chris completed his studies at the Silberman School of Social Work in 2014 and since then has had the opportunity to work at the Veteran Advocacy Project at the Urban Justice Center as a Veterans Advocate and with the Hostos Education Resource Office for Veterans (HERO4V) as the project’s Veterans Coordinator. While at VAP, Chris advocated for Veterans against both the Human Resource Agency (HRA) and Social Security. This experience allowed him to fight for the rights of Veterans who are unable to fight for themselves. While at Hostos he helped create the Hostos Education and Resource Office for Veterans (HERO4V) where Veterans, who had little to no access to their VA benefits, could get assistance to take Certificate classes such as EMT and CASAC, classes many could not afford with the assistance from HERO4V. Since his discharge, Chris has been vigilant in helping Veterans make the transition to civilian life as comfortable as possible and looks to do the same at CCNY.

Richard Pusateri, Military and Veteran Services Manager, John Jay College

Richard Pusateri  

John Jay College
Richard Pusateri, Military and Veteran Services Manager at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, served 30 years as a chaplain in the US Navy, during which he deployed 3-years with Marine Corps forces in combat operations (Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom and Desert Storm) and in overseas operations for over 10 years.  During 2005-2009, he served as the senior chaplain for all Marine Corps combat forces in Southwest Asia.  He retired as a Captain (O-6) in 2013.  He came to John Jay after serving as an executive with United Methodist Global Ministries in New York.  Captain Pusateri earned a Bachelor degree from Case Western Reserve University, Masters degrees from Syracuse, Vanderbilt and Salve Regina University, and the Doctor of Ministry from Princeton Theological Seminary.

CUNY Student Veterans

CUNY student veteran, Megan Eung, US Army, John Jay College class of 2022

Megan Eung

John Jay Class of 2022, US Army
I earned a B.S. in Forensic Science  what influenced  my decision to come to CUNY was CUNY’s  affordability  and  that it’s well known, plus the program that I am in has a great reputation. My Employment/Educational Goals is to become a medical examiner or a surgeon.  Challenges faced during transition from service member to scholar was organizing my finances and to adapting to a new lifestyle. While in the service, I was used to having someone tell me what to do and to following specific rules that kept me in line. As a scholar you are responsible for yourself at all times.

My advice for future veterans: “Always look ahead and go for the gold”

CUNY student veteran Ekaterina Marynich, US Army, John Jay College class of 2018

Ekaterina Marynich

John Jay Class of 2018, US Army
I currently have a B.A in Linguistics and B.A in International Criminal Justice. What influenced my      decision to come to CUNY was because I knew it’d help me find a government job and give me the experience I needed as well as the proper degrees. Its affordability is a plus as well. My Employment/Educational Goals is to work as an asylum officer for immigrant and refugee individuals and families. There weren’t any challenges I faced during transition from service member to scholar were none, because I prepared ahead of time before leaving service.

Advice for future veterans: “Try to look and be opened minded and make sure you utilize all resources.”

CUNY student veteran Amanda Donald, USMC, John Jay Class of 2022

Amanda Donald

John Jay Class of 2020, US Marine Corps.
I currently hold an associates in Criminal Justice and B.S in Criminal Justice Management. I also received an advanced combat lifesaver and was a member of the female engagement team. CUNY John Jay was my only option. I applied to this school only because ever since was young I knew I wanted a career in the Criminal Justice. I want to be a Police Officer and if that doesn’t work out then I would like to become a federal crime scene investigator or go into federal law enforcement. Soon after I graduate I would like continue on and get my Masters.  My challenges were not being able to find adequate financial and childcare resources. I think there should be more talk and outreach done in connecting us to family-oriented resources. Another challenge I face a scholar is building a schedule that caters to my major. Read More

The classes are a scattered with timing so I have trouble taking in AM or midday classes since I am at home with my children.
My advice for future veterans: “Remember you are good enough and can do it even though you feel like you don’t have a purpose when you get out. You will always matter and even be surprised with what you can accomplish.”

Military and Veteran Services office at John Jay College, Kinga Sawicki

Kinga Sawicki

John Jay Class of 2020, US Marine Corps.
I am currently working towards my B.S in Toxicology and I’m a certified first responder as well as a peer coach mentor at the Military and Veteran Services office at John Jay College.  What influenced my decision to apply to a CUNY school was all because of a family friend told me that the program that I desired as one of the top rated in the CUNY system. I would like to work for a lab of pharmaceutical company and also hope to continue earning Dean’s list and working as peer coach. One of the greatest challenges in my transition process was traveling to a new environment and city. I originally came from California and was having hard time dealing with adapting to civilian/home life. The support that I received from some family and friends was bit much and in turn was relied on too much.
My advice for future veterans: “Don’t procrastinate! Be sure to plan ahead before you leave service.”

CUNY veteran Samantha Ruiz

Samantha Ruiz

Hunter College
I served in the United States Navy from May 2001-June 2015. It was one the 3rd most challenging things I have ever done and that’s besides balancing motherhood and the military. The military was all I knew, I spent a large chunk of my life serving. I always wanted to finish school but being on active duty proved to be a challenge. It was a lot of talk until I realized my time had come to leave. I wanted to start my academic journey and be there to watch my kids grow up. The most challenging part was overcoming the fear of “What am I doing? Am I nuts? I am so close to retirement”. It was replacing one support system I had known for 14 years with one I had to build from the ground up.
No one really explained the process of becoming a student so it was difficult navigating at first. Read More

It’s a transition that’s not for the weak at heart. I always knew that I wanted to attend CUNY since the age of 16. I also knew that Hunter was the college I would attend. I am grateful to Mr. Cotto at BMCC, his team helped to make sure this academic transition went as smooth as possible. Since then I have earned an AA in Liberal Arts from BMCC and I am currently finishing my undergraduate degree at Hunter College.  I am expected to graduate in Spring 2018 and begin graduate school in Fall 2018. My goal is to become a social worker working with veterans. My advice for future veterans is to do research. Have an idea of what you want to study, if you take classes in service make sure they transfer over. Plan for the future and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

CUNY veteran Megan Lyon

Megan Lyon

Hunter College
I picked Hunter College for many reasons: the location, the unique degree choices, and because it’s close to my family. I’m studying Classical Archaeology. I’m planning to go to grad school after I graduate to achieve my ultimate goal in becoming an archaeologist.  It’s been a unique transition from service member to student. When I left my military career behind and began school, I ran into all sorts of issues I never expected but I was always able to find help at Hunter when trouble peeked its ugly head.  My advice for fellow student veterans is to always ask for help especially if you need it. It will be a bit of a culture shock when you leave the military and begin to transition into civilian life. Reach out if you need help. Read More

CUNY has fantastic people and resources for student veterans. Even if it’s not an academic issue, reach out to your professors, advisors, veteran resource centers, and your fellow student veterans if you have any questions. There are resources for housing, families, finances, as well as physical and mental health.

CUNY veteran M. Castillo

Miguel Castillo

LaGuardia Community College 
Miguel Castillo a LaGuardia Community College Liberal Arts: Math and Science major and Marine Corps veteran who completed a tour of duty in Afghanistan has been awarded a 2017 Jack Kent Cook (JKC) Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship.  Miguel is 1 of 55 community college students from across the nation to be selected for this scholarship.    The JKC Scholarship provides up to $40,000 per year (for up to 3 years) for the completion of a Bachelor’s degree, thus making it the one of the most prestigious and certainly the largest transfer scholarship available to community college students.
This Honors student was raised by a single mother, and is a first-generation Mexican-Dominican college student.  Through the NIH Bridges program and his program mentor Hendrick Delcham, he had the opportunity to conduct innovative research at Columbia, and Brookhaven National Labs. Read More

This summer, he will join Stanford University’s 2 to 4 Veteran Accelerator program.  He plans to double major in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at his 4-year college

CUNY veteran B. Vigoya in military uniform

Brian Vigoya

Queens College, 2017
My name is Brian Vigoya, I am a Marine Corps Veteran that served active duty from 2010-2014.  In 2014 I transitioned to the Army Reserves.        I am currently majoring in Labor Studies, and minoring in Accounting at Queens College. I received my Associates in Applied Science – Business Management from LaGuardia Community College. I am expected to graduate May 2018
I came back to NYC primarily for my family.  I wanted to be back home after being away for so long. I chose CUNY because I attend before I left for the military.  I wanted to come back to a familiar scene. My goal is to work as an administrative aide for a labor union or as a human resource specialist for a school. Read More

The biggest transition for me was not having anyone to tell me what to do at all times or to go here/there.  Being in charge of my own life was shocking.  I want future veterans to know that, it’s not all over when you get out of the military.  Being in uniform was  only one chapter in your life that helped define you, but you are more than just a military man or woman.  You have options. Take advantage of what CUNY has to offer including professional networking opportunities, personal connections, and on campus resources.

Soldier looking through binoculars
Photo by Cpl. Laura Cardoso/MCAS

Jefferson Yu

Queensborough Community College, 2017  
My name is Jefferson Yu and I am a Marine Veteran currently enrolled in Queensborough Community College majoring in Electrical Engineering. It has been a tough year and a half transitioning back to school after my 4 and a half years in the Marine Corps. However, everything that I have learned in the Marine Corps has lead me up to this point. After being accepted to NYU Tandon School of Engineering I learned that the key to success is to always stay motivated and to never forget to be the best you that you can be. Always have confidence in yourself and you will continue to break down each obstacle you thought was never possible. Nothing should ever hold you back as long as you remember that each and every one of us has a fate not written in stone. You can be anyone you like as long as you work hard and commit to the process.

CUNY veteran Eric Gerda

Eric Gerda

John Jay College of Criminal Justice, 2017 
Eric Gerda served in the Marine Corps on active duty from 2009 to 2013, achieving the rank of Corporal.  He deployed to South America. He currently attends John Jay College of Criminal Justice and is majoring in Criminology. Before attending John Jay, Eric received an Automotive Technology Degree from the Technical Career Institute in New York. Living in New Jersey and traveling to New York City in order to attend John Jay is a challenge that Eric is willing to endure because his sister attended John Jay and the school has a very respected and affordable program directly related to Eric’s field of interest.
After graduating in May 2017, Eric plans to attend John Jay to receive an MPA, and then work with a federal agency. Read More

One Eric’s challenges during his transition from Service Member to Scholar was the ability to successfully integrate himself in an academic culture that is seemingly limitless.  Another challenge was getting to know and understand the different characteristics and personalities of his counterparts on campus.  For service members still in the military, Eric advises that they research the route/major they wish to take before they separate from service and be sure to take advantage of VA benefits upon ETS.

CUNY veteran Elizabeth Delacruz

Elizabeth Delacruz

John Jay College of Criminal Justice, 2017 
Elizabeth Delacruz served in the Marine Corps from 2008 to 2012, achieving the rank of Corporal.  She deployed in combat operations in Afghanistan. She is currently a John Jay graduate student pursuing a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice. Prior to her graduate studies, Elizabeth received a BS from John Jay in Criminal Justice. She chose to come to NYC because it is home to the best school for criminal justice, the very reason she chose to attend John Jay. After graduating in May 2018, Elizabeth plans to pursue a career on the federal or state level. Acclimating to the school environment after being out of school for four years is one of the challenges that she experienced during the transition from Service Member to Scholar. Elizabeth advises every service member, whether they are still serving or have been discharged, to take advantage of the benefits available to them, both as a veteran and CUNY student.

CUNY veteran A. Mendez

Abiel Mendez

Hunter College, 2017
I served in the United States Army from 2010-2014 and the United States National Guard from 2014-2016. My MOS was 13B-Cannon Crewmember. After completing AIT in Fort Sill Oklahoma, I received orders that I was going to be stationed in Germany. I was ecstatic about this news, as I have always wanted to see the world so Germany was a good place to start that journey. After completing my time in active duty, I decided to enlist in the National Guard where I did the same job just a lot closer to home.
Why CUNY? Great question. My eldest brother and my older sister are both alumni of Hunter College so it was very easy for me to make that decision. I knew I was getting a quality education. In addition, I attended Hunter College before I joined the Army so I was already comfortable there. Read More

Coming back to NYC was easy for me as I was born and raised in Spanish Harlem. I felt confident that I would be able to succeed back in my hometown. The biggest challenge I faced, however, was coming back to NYC from Germany and attending classes two days after I landed. It’s a good thing I had Alex Rosero, veteran advisor at Hunter College, on my side. He helped me every step of the way even when I was in Germany. Another challenge I faced was that I did not feel prepared academically as I was not taking classes during my active duty career. I felt overwhelmed but it did get a lot easier as the semester took its course. Currently, I am on track to graduate in Spring 2017 with a B.A. in Sociology.

To all future veterans, do not feel overwhelmed when applying for your GI Bill benefits. Try to save up as much as you can as well. You never know what will come up. Also, take summer and winter sessions. You get paid to study. What is better than that?

CUNY veteran Gabriel Campos

Gabriel Campos

Queens College, 2017
My name is Gabriel Andre Campos and I am a US Army Veteran, a VA work study and a Queens College undergraduate student. After my 4 ½ years of active duty service, I departed from the Army and returned to my hometown of Queens, NY. For the first few years I joined the civilian workforce and worked a variety of odd jobs in an attempt to establish myself. During those years I noticed many of the professionals I interacted with were mainly Undergrads and Graduates who attended CUNY. As a result I decided to obtain my Associate’s Degree in Mathematics at Borough of Manhattan Community College. Read More

My initial goal with school was unclear, other than to gain an education and refine my mathematical skillset, but the veteran presence on campus was tremendous. The faculty, advisors and students I interacted with assisted me in choosing a Computer Science major for my Bachelor’s Degree at Queens College. Like most veterans, I am unable to simply focus only on school. I have responsibilities, obligations and personal matters that constantly interfere with my schedule. Regardless of what life throws at me, the support that I receive from the many veteran resources and colleagues within CUNY are what has kept me on track to graduate by Spring of 2018.

CUNY veteran S. Vargas

Sebastian Vargasperez

Baruch College, 2017
I served in the U.S. Navy from 2010 to 2014 as a Logistic Specialist. I was attached to the USS Emory S. Land for one year then home-ported in Diego Garcia, B.I.O.T (British Indian Ocean Territory). After this, I transferred to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 1 where I was deployed for 9 months as a support unit to OIF. Currently, I attend Baruch College majoring in International Business with a minor in Political Science. My family played a big role in my decision to relocate to NYC after serving in the military. I chose CUNY because of its’ diversity and its support of veteran students.
Since the day I applied and throughout each semester; there has always been a helping hand for me. Read More

CUNY offers its veterans a unique place to acquire the necessary tools and knowledge to stay competitive in the labor force. At the beginning, it was challenging to adapt to the classroom environment because in my military experience I never followed a schedule that required me to stay in a room for 2-5 hours almost every day of the week. After graduation I plan on entering in the international corporate field. My advice to future veteran students is to utilize all student resources. If you find yourself in a situation where you feel you need help, with any matter- either veteran or student related- I guarantee that someone at CUNY will be there to assist in one way or another, this is what makes CUNY so special for veterans.

CUNY veteran Ricardo Garcia

Ricardo Garcia

John Jay College of Criminal Justice 2016
I am Ricardo Garcia and I served 23 years in the US Army. I received my Bachelor of Arts from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Fall 2016; majoring in Political Science with a minor in History. My decision to study at CUNY was a direct result of my transition experience from US Army and Army National Guard deployments to civilian life.  After the 9/11 World Trade Center Attacks I was called for numerous military and state side deployments.  Upon completing my last military operation, I decided that I wanted to refocus my energy on my education.  After touring the John Jay campus I learned there was a  large population of student veterans taking classes.  Because of this I was motivated to socially and academically entrench myself in the John Jay College community.  Read More

John Jay offered a welcoming environment for service members, veterans and their families.  Their unwavering support for all students  solidified my decision to attend John Jay.
Upon enrolling I learned so much from the wonderful faculty, staff and administrators at the college. Equally amazing was the commitment and support that John Jay students had for one another.  Throughout my years at the college I made great connections and received assistance in resolving any, and, every issue, whether it was academic or personal.  To me this serves as a testament to the fortitude of the people who worked and attended the institution.  The ability to obtain a phenomenal education and secure my academic advancement was just the icing on the cake.  From college President, Mr. Jeremy Travis, to the custodial staff each and every one of these individuals contributed somehow directly towards my education in and outside of the classroom.
As a result of the support I received from the faculty, the students, and the staff at John Jay I decided to continue on pursuing my academic goals after completing my Bachelors. The support and confidence that they gave inspired me to pursue my Jurist Doctorate.  Furthermore, because CUNY was so good to me I am making every conscious effort to attend the CUNY School of Law in 2018. Currently I have been practicing for the LSAT Exam and I have sought professors at the college to assist me in ascertaining law school admissions.  My final goal is to make my way into politics so that I may represent the amazing citizens of the great New York City/State.  My career goal is a direct result of the rigorous yet fulfilling education offered at John Jay as well as the guidance and push towards excellence that I received from my professors.  I would not be where I am today if it were not for the CUNY and John Jay veterans community and I am extremely grateful and humbled.  My advice for future veterans is, “Drive on Soldier until the mission is accomplished!  Get Moving!”

CUNY Veteran Victor Milian

Victor Milian

Lehman College, 2014
Victor Milian was conferred his BA in Liberal Arts and Science from Lehman College with the class of 2014. Victor, an Alum of Kingsborough Community College, earned his Associate in Applied Science Degree with Honors in June 2008, graduating from the Maritime Technology Program at Kingsborough Community College. Victor, the father of 4 boys, has 3 granddaughters, a grandson, and a great-great granddaughter. Prior to attaining this distinction, Victor had a distinguished career in defense of our nation, serving in numerous branches and capacities within the United States Military. Read Less

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Enlisting with the U.S. Marine Corps in June 1966, PFC Milian was attached to Military Assistance Command Viet Nam (MAC-V) Advisory Team 3 in Viet Nam’s ancient royal capital Hue City during the 1968 Tet Offensive. His stateside duty stations were at Camp Lejeune, N.C. and Camp Pendleton, Ca. before his Honorable Discharge as a Lance Corporal in May 1969. Victor dedicated the next decade to his family before joining the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves (1980-1982) when Corporal Milian was attached to F-Company (Infantry) in New Rochelle, NY. In 1984, Victor joined the U.S. Naval Reserves, and was detached to the LPH Nassau, Floyd Bennett Field Brooklyn. Transferring to the Patrol Squadron V.P.-66 at Willow Grove Pa., Victor trained to become an Aviation Airframe Structural Specialist, participating in missions from Iceland, Rota Spain, the Azores, Bermuda and Puerto Rico, attaining the rank of Petty Officer 3rd Class before leaving in 1991 to join the U.S. Army Reserves. During his sixteen year stretch in the U.S. Army Reserves, Specialist Milian was promoted to the rank of Sergeant. Operating as a Cargo Specialist, Victor was attached to the 1174th Terminal Transportation and Logistics Branch at Fort Totten, Flushing N.Y., training to manage domestic and foreign marine ports. From January 2003 to February 2004, Sgt. Milian was assigned as a Marine Port Safety Specialist in Kuwait supporting Iraqi Enduring Freedom, with his unit responsible for the safe loading and discharge of all military cargo entering or leaving Iraq. In 2007, Victor reached the mandatory retirement age of sixty and was Honorably Discharged from the U.S. Army Reserves.

CUNY Veteran Stephen Joness

Stephen Jones

Queensborough Community College, 2014
During the recent 2014 Queensborough Community College Commencement, President Diane Call paid tribute to the graduating veterans who have served in the armed forces. Among them was Stephen Jones, a “Vietnam Era” Veteran, who graduated from Queensborough with an Associate in Applied Science Degree in New Media Technology. He has a G.P.A. of 3.3 and is on the Dean’s list. Mr. Jones also received further achievement as the recipient of the Martin Luther King Jr. Award for exceptional leadership for exceptional leadership in promoting racial harmony and appreciation of cultural diversity. Read More

From the podium, he exclaimed to his fellow graduates, “It was scary coming back to school at 60, but I made it–we made it!”
Stephen described growing up in South Jamaica, Queens where he left school at the end of eighth grade. By 17, he had enlisted in the United States Army and returned home at 19 as a “Vietnam Era” Veteran with no high school diploma and no job prospects. For years he worked in low-wage maintenance jobs at factories.
“I knew there had to be a better way to make a living” said Stephen, who eventually earned a Veterans General Education Diploma (GED). Determined to keep moving forward, he began exploring area community colleges to further his education. He noted that Queensborough offered what others did not: small class sizes and a multitude of support programs for nontraditional students. He enrolled full-time in the fall of 2012—43 years after earning his GED.
Stephen Jones received a rousing standing ovation as he received his diploma.

CUNY veteran Carolina Vazquez

Carolina Vazquez

John Jay College, 2013
Carolina Vazquez, U.S. Navy Veterans and a John Jay College BA Graduate was the President, V.P. and Secretary of the John Jay Veterans Association. Carolina was also very involved in JJC student government and held the position of Junior Class Representative. She was a leader in the Veterans Lounge who instituted many initiatives for the military students, and student veterans on and off campus.
She increase participation of the students at the Veterans Day parade, volunteers at two food pantries for homeless veterans in the city and directed the assembly and distribution of Easter egg baskets for 55 children. She was instrumental in the addition of volunteers to Habitat for Humanities and exploring internships for veterans. Read More

Carolina was responsible for the growth of the association and spear heading the women veterans’ luncheon on a biweekly basis and the first NY State Women’s Veterans Empowerment Symposium at John Jay College. Carolina through the CUNY Office of Veterans Affairs during 2013 acquired an internship at the Guggenheim Foundation and by her solid work ethic, leadership and diligent was hire as a full time employee at the end of her internship.

CUNY veteran Rafael Monteagudo

Rafael Monteagudo

Bronx CC ,2013
Rafael Monteagudo, a native of New Haven Connecticut, enlisted with the U.S. Army in 2003 and served nine years because he “wanted to serve his country.” Specialist Monteagudo deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan three times as a member of the 82nd Airborne, and chose Bronx CC in 2013 to begin his college education. As an upper freshman at BCC, Rafael is pursuing an Associate Degree in Engineering Science, and intends to continue-on and earn a Baccalaureate Degree.
He continues to lead and giveback on campus, working as a student assistant under the VA work study program for the Office of Veteran & Military Resources at BCC, participating with the campus Math tutoring program and is helping lead the growth and development of the BCC Student Veteran Organization as Co-president.

CUNY veteran Don Gomez

Don Gomez

City College, 2010
U.S. Army
Don Gomez grew up in Queens, New York. After graduating from Martin Van Buren High School in the year 2000, he joined the United States Army in 2001. Beginning his military training at the U.S. Army Armor and Infantry training site at Fort Benning, Georgia, Don next joined the 82nd Airborne Division, successfully graduating from Advanced Airborne School. As a paratrooper, Gomez deployed in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom on two occasions, first in 2003 and again in 2005. Prior to his Honorable Discharge in 2006, Don distinguished his service as a Rifle Team Leader, General’s driver, and also achieving the Joint Service Commendation Medal and Combat Infantryman Badge. Read More

Don began attending college in Greensborough, North Carolina before transferring to The City College in the Fall 2007. Presently he is pursuing a degree in International Studies with a concentration in Middle Eastern Studies, and will be entering his junior year of studies this fall. Don has been the recipient of a Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans Military Scholarship, designated as a Colin Powell Center Scholar for the 2008-2009 academic year and this past May was the recipient of a newly implemented City College scholarship for veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. In addition, Don currently serves as the Vice President for the Student Association of International Studies. Outside of The City College, Don is an operations intern with the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding. Don aspirers to utilize his past experience and his studies to prepare himself for future service with the United States government.

CUNY veteran Orley Pacheco

Orley Pacheco

Borough of Manhattan Community College, 2010
U.S. Marine Corps
Orley Pacheco is a 24 year-old native of The Bronx and presently a Borough of Manhattan Community College student veteran who served five years with the United States Marine Corps. Prior to enlisting in September 2002, Pacheco had been exploring business career options in the corporate sector as an analyst with Goldman Sachs the global investment banking, securities and investment management firm, and as an administrative assistant with WPG Design Group a New York City-based interior design company. As a Marine Corps recruit, Pacheco reported to Recruit Depot Paris Island, South Carolina for the 3-phase 13-week Training Matrix where he learned “the core values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment”. Read More

During 2002-2003, Orley was also stationed in Pensacola Florida and enrolled in Aviation Structure Courses prior to relocating to North Carolina at Camp Lejeune’s aviation site at New River. Here, Pacheco worked on maintaining the navigation and electrical systems of the CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters as a member of the Black Knight Marine Helicopter Squadron -264; In 2004, Orley’s squadron participated in Combined Joint Task Force – Haiti and Marine Air Ground Task Force – 8. Pacheco’s unit was deployed to Iraq in 2005, and stationed at Al Asad Airfield, the second largest airbase in Iraq, in addition, Orley has served as a Recruiting Assistant and liaison with the Marine Corps Toys for Tots Program. Pacheco returned to CUNY at BMCC and is now working to complete his A.A. Business Administration degree. Orley and other Student Veterans were instrumental in establishing the Military Veterans Club at BMCC and he continues to be very involved with “bringing the Veterans back to education” and working to “help other Vets transition into college.”