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Deputy Secretary of U.S. Dept. of Veteran’s Affairs visits A&M-San Antonio for roundtable with veteran and military affiliate students

Deputy Secretary of U.S. Dept. of Veteran’s Affairs visits A&M-San Antonio for roundtable with veteran and military affiliate students - The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Communications junior Elyssa Quesada (left), who served as a U.S. Marine, talks with U.S. Deputy Secretary for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Tanya Bradsher after a veteran student roundtable in the STEM building on Feb. 22, 2024. Photo by Selene Torres-Chavez

Tanya Bradsher, Deputy Secretary for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, visited Texas A&M University-San Antonio Thursday to talk with student veterans about the different challenges they face while obtaining their educational benefits.

A&M-San Antonio was the only university visited by Bradsher while in Texas for other veteran related events.

Bradsher and the VA invited student veterans from four Texas universities to attend the roundtable. Attendees included military student representatives from the University of Texas at San Antonio and the University of the Incarnate Word.

“I wanted to take the opportunity to meet with our student veterans while I was in Texas,” Bradsher said. “I want to hear the challenges our student veterans are facing.”

Officials from veteran service programs like A&M-San Antonio’s VetSuccess on Campus, the Veterans Integration of Academic Leadership and Bexar County’s Military & Veteran Services Center also attended the roundtable.

Veteran students and VA representatives were given the opportunity to ask Bradsher questions and discuss issues regarding their military benefits and the higher education journey as military affiliated students.

The university’s VetSuccess On Campus program, also known as VSOC, was one of the main topics discussed during the table talk.

VSOC is a U.S. Dept. of Veteran Affairs program that aims to help student veterans, servicemembers and their qualified dependents transition and succeed in their higher education journey. The program also provides vocational rehabilitation counselors and veteran affairs outreach coordinators that provide peer-to-peer counseling and referral service to veterans and military affiliated students.

“The feedback we got today was wanting to make sure how their (veterans) payments came through and how challenging it can be during certain months when they don’t receive their full payments,” Bradsher said. “And also the transition once they’re done with their education and on job placement. Feeling that they need more time in order to be able to work through that transition.”

Of the 20-25 students in attendance at Thursday’s roundtable, some seemed pleased with the direction the VA office is taking in providing assistance to military students.

A&M-San Antonio’s Student Veterans of America President Connor Crowell said he was excited to see the shift in direction the VA has made in recent years.

“They are taking the time to ask the right questions and see what we need and make it happen,” veteran student Crowell said.

Bradsher expressed her gratitude toward student veterans who attended the event.

“It’s been a great opportunity to see how things are going and we got some really good feedback on today’s visit that I plan to take back with me to DC,” deputy secretary Bradsher said.

For more information about the VSOC program, visit the U.S. Veteran’s Affiars website.

For additional information about A&M-San Antonio’s Military Affairs office or to get in contact with the office, visit here.

This story was update at 11:32 a.m., Feb. 24 to include additional information in the photo cutline and correct the spelling of Connor Crowell’s name.

About the Author

Renne Estrada
Staff Writer
Renne Estrada is a communications senior at Texas A&M University-San Antonio. She transferred from Sul Ross State University in fall 2023. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling with her husband, shopping, and trying new restaurants. She wants to explore a career in public relations or working in social media management after graduating. She hopes to one day create a nonprofit that supports non-traditional college students.

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