Veteran helps students transition from military to college life

Veteran helps students transition from military to college life
  1. Harry Funk/The Almanac David Ausman speaks during a weekly meeting of the McMurray Rotary Club, held at 12:10 p.m. Wednesdays at Atria’s Restaurant, 4059 Washington Road, Peters Township. In the time between graduating from South Park High School and enrolling at Robert Morris University, David Ausman served in the U.S. Marine Corps, including two tours of duty in Somalia. His transition from the military to civilian life to being a college student turned out to be somewhat overwhelming. “I couldn’t connect to the fellow students,” he said. “I couldn’t connect to my professors. You’re telling me about the real world? Now, let me tell you about the real world.” Between classes, he’d relax in a wooded area next to campus. “I’m an outdoorsman,” Ausman told members of the McMurray Rotary Club. “That’s where I felt comfortable.” Today, he helps students in similar situations feel comfortable through his position as director of Robert Morris’ Center for Veterans and Military Families, which he discussed as guest speaker at a recent Rotary meeting in Peters Township. The center’s primary role, he said, is to administer GI Bill benefits for qualifying students. But a main focus is also to provide support services on a variety of levels, including the transitional component. “They do have some challenges. They often are older than other students, so there’s an age disconnection,” Ausman said. “There’s a disconnection when it comes to life experiences. You have students who maybe just want to party, and the veterans just want to get their degrees.” Most of the students served by the center live off-campus, and many are married and parents. Some have disabilities in connection with their service in the military. “There could be difficulty using benefits or lack of knowledge of how to get benefits,” Ausman said. Members of […]

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