Student Success Center
Patrick Forystek, Veteran
Position: Student Veterans Resource Center Coordinator
Credentials and Experience: As an Marine combat veteran, I have personal experience dealing with the transition issues that many other veterans face. I have received my education from the University of Michigan-Flint, and also served as a Peer Academic Advisor to the veteran community on campus. So I deeply understand the issues that veterans face on this campus. I have experience using the Post 9/11 GI Bill, both in a traditional setting as well as online education. Along with the Post 9/11, I also have experience utilizing the Vocational Rehabilitation program, including the educational portion as well as its tertiary benefits like health care and career exploration.
Favorite part of your work with the SVRC: Helping other veterans navigate the benefits they are entitled to. I know from my own experience that it can be very confusing sometimes and being able to help other veterans work through the process is very rewarding. Whether it’s their first day of class or graduation, nothing is more rewarding than seeing our veterans succeed.
Advice for student veterans: Use your resources! The transitional period from military to civilian life can be very demanding and it’s easy to overlook programs that exist to help you. Take advantage of these programs as much as you can, you earned them! Don’t forget to apply for scholarships and grants too, they can help ease the cost of school and there are many that exist just for veterans.
Student Veterans Resources Center
Position: Veterans Certifying Evaluator
Credentials and Experience: Dedicated and knowledgeable professional, providing assistance to student veterans and their families with VA/Department of Defense benefits, coordinating student services, and providing support to the UM-Flint Student Veterans of America Chapter. More than eight years as a VA Certifying Official, serving in the Registrar’s Office at Cleary University before moving to UM-Flint in May, 2013.
Favorite part of your work with the SVRC: Counseling students on the various VA education benefits that are available and assisting in the resolution of benefit payment issues.
Advice for student veterans: Take the time to know your benefits. After all, you earned them! Meet regularly with an academic advisor to ensure that you are on track toward graduation, and attend and pass your classes.
Student Veterans Resources Center
Stevens Wandmacher, Dr.
Position: I have been the Faculty Coordinator for the SVRC since it was created and I both teach in and am currently the Chair of the Department of Philosophy.
Credentials and Experience: As a faculty member I hold degrees in philosophy from Wayne State University (MA 1994) and Michigan State University (Ph.D 2003). I did my undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan (BGS 1992) and was a Boatswain’s Mate in the United States Navy (BM3).
Favorite part of your work with the SVRC: I get great satisfaction out of developing and maintaining systems to insure that our veteran population gets the support and guidance they need and have earned.
Advice for student veterans: Stay in school until you graduate; there is no obstacle to your education that you can’t navigate.
Student Veteran Resources Center
Michael Keeley, Student Veteran
Position: I am the website administrator for the Student Veteran Resources Center. Please inform me of any and all issues you encounter while utilizing the website.
Credentials and Experience: I served 8 years in the United States Army as a Signal Support Systems Specialist. My areas of experience include working on multiple us.army.mil websites to include building and maintaining personalized unit websites for the various units I have been in.
Favorite part of your work with the SVRC: My favorite part of working in the SVRC is the chance to make an impact on the accessibility of information for Veterans. It is my firm belief that information should be easily obtained, and it is my goal to make that happen.
Advice for student veterans: Ask questions! If you are unsure about something any of the staff members in the SVRC are more than willing to help you. Get involved in programs and find out what other benefits are out there, trust me, there are a lot!