Batavia, NY- Being a veteran or military aligned student (Active Duty, Veteran, Guard, Reserve or family) presents a unique set of opportunities, benefits, and challenges when it comes to earning an education. GCC’s Office of Veterans Services strives to guide veterans and military affiliated students through this critical process of returning to school. There are three new members in GCC’s Veteran’s Office. They are available this summer to help new or returning students understand and most effectively utilize benefits that they have honorably earned. They assist with financial aid, admissions, advisement and anything else required throughout their educational journey. The Veterans Office staff includes three veterans, Steven Fink, Steven Bunch, and Patrick Mandia, all military veterans themselves who have navigated the higher education process, earned degrees, and are excited to help their co-veteran colleagues.
“We are here to help the military aligned student in any way we can,” Fink said, who is a three time U.S. Army combat veteran. “We are here to serve as a main point of contact and a liaison between the military aligned student and the College.”
Steven Fink served eight years in the U.S. Army, primarily as an infantryman and a scout-sniper in the 1st Infantry Division, 172nd Infantry Brigade, and the 1st Cavalry Division. As a former active duty soldier, National Guard soldier and recent college graduate, Steven is intimate with what it takes to be successful both on and off the battle field. He earned a B.S. in Business Management and is working toward his MBA from D’Youville College. Steven lives in Pembroke with his wife and two children. He is available this summer at the Batavia campus on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Steven Bunch served more than 28 years and is a veteran of naval expeditionary operations during the Cold War, Korean Defense Service, Gulf War I (Iraq), and Gulf War II (Afghanistan) with over 11 years of Foreign Service. He began as a cryptologic technician in the U.S. Navy and culminated in the U.S. Army while with the 10th Mountain Division and Army Material Command at Fort Drum, New York. Steve holds a B.A. in History, an M.A. in Humanities and a M.S. in Mental Health Counseling. He currently works at the GCC Medina and Albion Campus Centers in the morning and is available by appointment.
Patrick Mandia served in the U.S. Army Reserve for 12 years as a combat engineer with the 98th Division, based out of Rochester. While in the military, Patrick was a certified Army drill instructor and worked specifically with new soldiers who were completing basic training and/or the 12 Bravo – Engineer School. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a Master’s degree in Student Personnel Administration from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. Patrick also earned an A.A.S. in Business Administration from GCC. He is assigned as a veterans affairs outreach specialist at the Batavia campus and is available Monday - Friday 10:00 am – 2:00 pm.
Services and resources available to military aligned students are vast. They include the dedicated Veteran’s Lounge open during normal campus hours (approximately 100 hours per week) which provides free coffee/tea, television, computer, scanner/printer and Wi-Fi use. In addition, GCC offers free tutoring, free campus parking, free online application, and free career and academic advising. Other advantages that veterans have available to them are earning credit toward a college degree for prior service, education or experience, financial aid assistance, and the option to register for classes one week early. The Batavia campus also has the NYS certified, on-campus Child Care Center for infants six weeks old to preschool age. Veterans may inquire about additional resources and accommodations such as student housing at College Village.
“It is our mission to educate these students on their benefits and the best way to utilize them to ensure success,” Fink noted. “We are here to advocate for, provide outreach to, and educate the veteran population on the many benefits of earning a degree in higher education. I believe it is our responsibility to create a veteran friendly culture throughout the College,” Fink added. “The College staff has been nothing but helpful so far, they have gotten behind many veteran friendly initiatives and are working closely with the Veteran’s office to make our military students as successful as possible.”
For further information on Veterans Services at GCC, visit the recently-redesigned Veterans Services webpage at www.genesee.edu/home/adult-learners/veterans-services/. To schedule an appointment to meet with someone in the Veterans Office, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We will be honored to serve you, and help you get started on your educational journey this fall,” Fink concluded. “Don’t hesitate to come in and chat.” The fall semester starts August 22, 2016 making this the perfect time to consider enrolling—whether it is just one class or a full semester.
For more information, contact Marketing Communications Associate Director Donna Rae Sutherland at (585) 343-0055 ext. 6616, or via email: email@example.com.
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Editor’s Note: A photo of Steven Fink talking with Christopher Nieves in GCC’s Veterans Office is available here: http://marketing.genesee.edu/images/VeteransOffice.jpg