Veterans Affairs Coordinator Teaches Faculty & Staff about Working with Veteran Students

06.07.13

PatrickMassaro
Patrick Massaro, coordinator of military and veterans student services, presented information about educational benefits for student veterans recently.

At SUNY Potsdam, there are an array of educational benefits and resources giving soldiers and veterans assistance, both financially and academically.

Patrick Massaro, coordinator of military and veterans student services, is dedicated to educating SUNY Potsdam faculty and staff about the issues that individuals face when transitioning out of the military, and the resources available on campus to make that process run smoothly.

“There are a number of resources available for military and veteran students to take advantage of while at SUNY Potsdam,” said Massaro. “Currently, SUNY Potsdam has over 100 students utilizing some form of military-related educational benefit, and that number is only going to continue to grow as the United States draws down its military forces.”

He recently spoke to faculty and staff about how they can assist students with military backgrounds. Massaro was joined by Coordinator of Accommodative Services Sharon House, Counseling Center Clinical Director and Psychiatrist Trish Pielnik, and Tom Matthews, an outreach specialist for the Watertown Vet Center.

Each presenter touched on the ways that traditional students, veteran students and faculty can make the transition process accommodating and successful.

“A lot of times students come out of the military not knowing about any of these benefits,” said Massaro.

As the military and veteran student services coordinator, Massaro is dedicated to helping veterans navigate the maze of awards and scholarships, to take advantage of educational opportunities and services at SUNY Potsdam.

The speakers emphasized the importance of faculty and staff understanding the issues that military members can face, such as sometimes struggling to change their routine, feeling a loss of purpose or identity, and getting used to the culture shock of attending college.

“It is more difficult to transition when you have an ‘invisible’ disability,” said House.

In order to assist veterans dealing with stresses that the average person does not experience, accommodative services and the Counseling Center staff work closely together.

“I find that communication among the students and administration is the key to success; by keeping open lines of communication with its veteran students, SUNY Potsdam is best able to adapt its programming efforts to match the needs and wants of the veteran population,” said Massaro, whose position is shared with neighboring SUNY Canton.

SUNY Potsdam will soon introduce a first-year success seminar program specifically designed for veteran students.

For more information about the many opportunities available to veterans and their families at SUNY Potsdam, please visit www.potsdam.edu/studentlife/services/military.

Founded in 1816, and located on the outskirts of the beautiful Adirondack Park, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of America’s first 50 colleges. SUNY Potsdam currently enrolls approximately 4,350 undergraduate and graduate students. Home to the world-renowned Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam is known for its handcrafted education, challenging liberal arts and sciences core, excellence in teacher training and leadership in the performing and visual arts.