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Student Veterans Receive Specialized Career Support At Pitt
Brianna McMeekin never thought she would devote her career to working with veterans. Hired as a career counselor for the University of Pittsburgh, McMeekin works with the school’s nontraditional students. Eight months into the job, she recognized the need to concentrate on the school’s student veteran population.
“One day a student veteran walked into the office with a six-page resume with his picture on it. Nobody knew how to help him,” she says. “I was already working with nontraditional students so it just made sense that I would help.”
When McMeekin realized how many student veterans attended the university -- 230 on its main campus and nearly 400 more attending classes on its branch campuses -- she pushed to make the veteran population her priority.
“Many veteran students may have joined the armed forces directly out of high school and may have never held a job outside of the service," says Janet Owens, outreach coordinator for the Office of Veterans Services at Pitt. “Thanks to their training, most veterans come to the university with tremendous leadership skills, organizational abilities, world experience, and a team focus, yet knowing how to articulate those skills or translate those skills on a resume may be daunting.”
McMeekin organized workshops to develop civilian and federal resumes, conducted mock interviews, arranged career fairs for students veterans and helped develop brochures for potential employers about the benefits of hiring veterans.
“Having a centralized person that is available to all veteran students is a huge benefit,” McMeekin says. With her office located near the Office of Veterans Services, she says veterans can take care of all of their needs in one location.
While other colleges and universities offer veterans services, McMeekin says few have someone specifically devoted to helping student veterans find a career.
“Having a dedicated career counselor who understands how to take that experience and transfer it to civilian terminology is incredibly helpful,” says Owens. “Not only can the career counselor help with resume building and developing effective interview techniques, having someone who understands the military culture and the importance of a smooth transition to the workforce is essential.”
Although she hasn’t served in the military, McMeekin says her lack of intimate knowledge can work in her favor.
“When a veteran comes in, I have them explain to me what it was they did in the service. Sometimes I have to ask a lot of follow-up questions to have them explain what they did in civilian terms,” she says. “A lot of people say ‘I was Army infantry and I don’t have any transferable skills.’ I help them identify their leadership skills.”
The response from student veterans has been positive.
“Having every office, specialist, and resource I need in one accessible place has been the single greatest benefit of me attending Pitt,” says Ryan Sheets, an Air Force veteran and current student at the university. “The fact that I can simply walk right into my career counselor's office or the [Office of Veterans Services] means that I can actually develop a relationship with them.”
Laura Walter, an Army veteran, says McMeekin helped her refine her resume and helped her practice interviewing.
“Brianna helped me translate my skills in such a way that made non-military employers feel more comfortable,” Walter says. “After polishing my interview skills and resume, I felt confident enough to apply for a summer internship at Google, and successfully secured a position for this summer.”
Students also recognize a vital quality in McMeekin: She cares.
“Brianna understands that most of us are in a much different place than our traditional student counterparts and she is extremely helpful in maximizing our success,” Walter says. “It has been extremely helpful having a career services counselor that understands the difficulty of transitioning that most veterans’ students face.”
“I've saved the awful first draft I brought [Brianna] as a keepsake to remind me of how far her work in career services has helped me develop,” Sheets says. “Career services, and specifically Brianna, has been outstanding for me. Together we've honed and improved my resume into a sharp document that I'm proud of.”
For McMeekin, the satisfaction of helping student veterans has been rewarding.
“If I can arm the student with information, resources and knowledge of how to express themselves so they’re able to advocate for themselves, that’s my purpose,” McMeekin says.
Andrea Signor is a freelance journalist living in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She has covered the military for more than five years, including a two-year stint on staff at the Fort Carson Mountaineer.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday told North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to "act quickly" to reach a deal with the United States, in a tweet weighing in on North Korea's criticism of his political rival former Vice President Joe Biden.
Trump, who has met Kim three times since 2018 over ending the North's missile and nuclear programs, addressed Kim directly, referring to the one-party state's ruler as "Mr. Chairman".
In his tweet, Trump told Kim, "You should act quickly, get the deal done," and hinted at a further meeting, signing off "See you soon!"
It is impossible to tune out news about the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump now that the hearings have become public. And this means that cable news networks and Congress are happier than pigs in manure: this story will dominate the news for the foreseeable future unless Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt get back together.
But the wall-to-wall coverage of impeachment mania has also created a news desert. To those of you who would rather emigrate to North Korea than watch one more lawmaker grandstand for the cameras, I humbly offer you an oasis of news that has absolutely nothing to do with Washington intrigue.
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia will return three captured naval ships to Ukraine on Monday and is moving them to a handover location agreed with Kiev, Crimea's border guard service was cited as saying by Russian news agencies on Sunday.
A Reuters reporter in Crimea, which Russian annexed from Ukraine in 2014, earlier on Sunday saw coastguard boats pulling the three vessels through the Kerch Strait toward the Black Sea where they could potentially be handed over to Ukraine.
Nine years after losing both legs in Afghanistan, he's found purpose in family, friends and inspiring others
There's a joke that Joey Jones likes to use when he feels the need to ease the tension in a room or in his own head.
To calm himself down, he uses it to remind himself of the obstacles he's had to overcome. When he faces challenges today — big or small — it brings him back to a time when the stakes were higher.
Jones will feel out a room before using the line. For nearly a decade, Jones, 33, has told his story to thousands of people, given motivational speeches to NFL teams and acted alongside a three-time Academy Award-winning actor.
On Tuesday afternoon, he stood at the front of a classroom at his alma mater, Southeast Whitfield High School in Georgia. The room was crowded with about 30 honor students.
It took about 20 minutes, but Jones started to get more comfortable as the room warmed up to him. A student asked about how he deals with post-traumatic stress disorder.
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It didn't take long for a central theme to emerge at the funeral of U.S. Marine Pfc. Joseph Livermore, an event attended by hundreds of area residents Friday at Union Cemetery in Bakersfield.
It's a theme that stems from a widespread local belief that the men and women who have served in the nation's armed forces are held in particularly high esteem here in the southern valley.
"In Bakersfield and Kern County, we celebrate our veterans like no place else on Earth," Bakersfield Chief of Police Lyle Martin told the gathering of mourners.