UH West Oʻahu veteran students, especially those with an interest in STEM fields, will have a space on campus to gather with the opening of the UH West Oʻahu Veterans Empowered Through STEM (V.E.T.S.) lounge.
The V.E.T.S. program is celebrating its grand opening on Tuesday, Sept. 3, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in E135 – the location of the lounge and educational workspace, which was created after the conversion of a decommissioned classroom. The room will feature state-of-the-art equipment, including eight 3D printers, several robotics kits, and more. The program’s mission is to create an environment for veterans to have a place to mingle with other veterans, work on personal/course projects, and have an opportunity to learn about the resources available to veteran and active military students. While the program caters to veterans and military students, all are welcome to utilize the workspaces, equipment, and software in the STEM lab space.
“Veterans, like many students, bring a unique set of skills into the educational setting,” Dr. Richard Jones, Associate Professor of Science Education, said. “UH West Oʻahu understands that it is not enough to simply provide classes to student veterans. To create a truly veteran friendly campus, veterans need to have the opportunity to interact with their peers as well as integrate into the campus ʻohana. The creation of the UH West Oʻahu V.E.T.S. program allows the university to better do this by supporting our veterans transition into civilian life, addressing the unique skills veterans bring to higher education, and leveraging our existing facilities and programs to provide multiple pathways for these Veteran Students to successfully enter the high salary and high demand STEM workforce.”
Jones serves as the principal investigator on the $638,100 grant from the U.S. Office of Naval Research to create the UH West Oʻahu V.E.T.S. program to support veterans interested in careers and education involving Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Funding from the grant will support UH West Oʻahu efforts to maintain and expand current UH West Oʻahu STEM programs, enhance and provide veteran outreach, and upgrade and supply the Pueo Prototyping Laboratory.
“Additionally the VET STEM program provides access to cutting edge technology and computing, work experience, and support for negotiating paperwork related to their service and veteran status, supports outreach and communication with available Veteran Support Organizations such as AMVETS, as well as providing a comfortable relaxing location where veterans can grab a cup of coffee and a snack,” Jones added.
The aim is to provide connections to private sector STEM internships for eligible students, as well as workshops for LinkedIn, Drone education, access to STEM conferences, and more. Even if a student is not in a STEM major, our goal is to expose veterans to opportunities that STEM can give them in the workforce.
For more information, contact Chantal DeWall at firstname.lastname@example.org.