|TUCSON, Ariz. — For some military veterans, the first day of school at a new college or university is as challenging as a deployment to a foreign country. Immersion in a new culture and reintroduction to a demanding academic environment can make the transition from military to higher education difficult. To ease the transition, the Warrior-Scholar Project is hosting an intensive two-week academic boot camp at the University of Arizona beginning Saturday.
The Warrior-Scholar Project, or WSP, coordinates immersive academic preparation courses for enlisted military veterans of any skill level at America's top universities. The program is designed to help military veterans develop and rediscover the skills and confidence necessary to successfully complete undergraduate degrees. Because veterans are non-traditional students with unique experiences distinguishing them from their college peers, the WSP also uses the boot camps to help prepare participants for the emotional and cultural adaptations required to succeed in a higher education setting.
"The University of Arizona has a strong history of supporting our veteran population," said Cody Nicholls, assistant dean of students at the UA. "Having the ability to engage with veterans in an academic setting prior to the first day of the semester is a tremendous opportunity for both the veteran and the university. Partnering with the WSP creates just that environment. We are looking forward to both the humanities and the STEM portion of the program this summer."
The WSP launched its first program at Yale University in 2012 with nine participants. Since then, the WSP has expanded to a total of 17 schools and is on track to host more than 245 veterans at boot camps across the country this year.
"We are proud to host a Warrior-Scholar Project academic boot camp at the University of Arizona," said Sidney Ellington, executive director of the WSP. "The program at the University of Arizona will tap into the immense potential of post-9/11 veterans and reduce obstacles to success, addressing veterans' misperceptions about college and building their confidence through an intense academic reorientation."
Each WSP boot camp is run by a team of student veterans and taught by university professors and graduate students. An intensive syllabus composed of both classic and modern scholarly works guides participants as they learn how to frame their ideas in an academic context, think critically and formulate scholarly arguments. Participants not only learn the material, they learn how to learn.
WSP funders and private donors cover the entire cost of the program for participants, excluding travel. Student veterans attending the UA boot camp will reside in campus housing and attend lectures in various classrooms.