CUNY Veteran Professionals

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

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

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.

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. 

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.

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. Read More

In 2006, Chris became a case worker assisting Public Assistance recipients in both their employment and educational searches. 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.

CUNY Student Veterans

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. Read More

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. 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?

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.

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. Read More

Since the day I applied and throughout each semester; there has always been a helping hand for me. 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.

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.

Stephen Joness Vertical

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.

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. Read More

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. 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.

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. Read More

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.

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.

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.”