The MCTC News Blog

MCTC Celebrates Veterans

Posted on: November 4th, 2014 by marketingworkstudy No Comments

Veterans-200As Veterans Day approaches, MCTC looks back at its history of veteran support. From TRIO to student clubs to Beyond the Yellow Ribbon initiatives, the College has learned from past successes and continues to implement new, innovative programs to welcome and support veterans on campus, including several activities planned for Nov. 6.

Veterans Upward Bound

Veterans have been attending MCTC since the College was a vocational school and veterans returning from the war were looking for work.

Veterans Upward Bound (VUB), which celebrated its 40th anniversary at the College last year, is one of MCTC’s most comprehensive veteran services. The federally funded TRIO program provides short-term remedial courses for veterans to help them transition into postsecondary education. The courses, textbooks, financial aid counseling, one-on-one tutoring and all other services are free.

Former TRIO Director and Vietnam veteran Jon Westby was honored to participate in VUB’s 40th anniversary celebration last year. Westby’s history with TRIO at MCTC goes back a long time: He was the first director of VUB in 1974, and he led a national fight to keep the program alive in the late 70s, when former President Regan nearly eliminated TRIO and other veteran support programs.

“Being with other veterans helped me get back into society after the war,” he said. “It cleansed demons that we all have.”

VUB’s current Program Director Craig Asche became inspired to work with veterans after the events of Sept. 11, 2001. He was a gradeschool teacher at the time and would see what the veteran parents of his students were like before and after their time in Iraq.

“Everyone I meet is someone in process,” he said. “I like to be part of that process of helping others find services and making connections.”

Welcome Center

Veterans have a place to meet on campus for camaraderie and support and to talk with other students in the Veterans Welcome Center. “This is a place where veteran students can relax, socialize and do homework,” said Asche. “It’s staffed by student veterans. There are computers and information available. It’s also a meeting room for the MCTC chapter of the Student Veterans of America.”

Beyond the Yellow Ribbon

In addition to the College’s existing services and resources for veterans, MCTC is taking steps to become a state-recognized Beyond the Yellow Ribboncampus. Beyond the Yellow Ribbon (BTYR) is a statewide program that works to connect past and future veterans with community support and resources. With encouragement from Gov. Mark Dayton, a committee of MCTC employees and students are working to bring BYTR to the College.

MCTC Political Science Instructor and U.S. Army veteran Miki Huntington sits on the committee and believes support is crucial for veterans.

“We want MCTC to be a one-stop shop for veterans and their families,” she said.

The committee has a number of plans in place to bring awareness to the community. This winter, MCTC will host the exhibit Always Lost: A Meditation on War—a traveling exhibit featuring photos, interviews and poems of deceased veterans. The exhibit will be on display in the Helland Center Dec. 15, 2014—Jan. 26, 2015.

“I hope in all these efforts that we can give back to all of those who have served for us,” said MCTC Student Life Director Tara Martinez.

MCTC Liberal Arts student Tim Ireland is the president of the College’s Student Veteran Association (SVA) chapter and is very active in organizing veteran-centered events and initiatives like BTYR at MCTC.

“I put everything into what I do and my post-service work is just as important as when I was in uniform,” he said.

Military Friendly School

MCTC was named a military friendly school for the fourth time this year. The honor, given by Victory Media, recognizes an institution’s military culture, flexibility, support services and financial assistance for veterans.

Veterans Day Recognition Events Nov. 3-7

This fall, MCTC planted a tree in its outdoor plaza in honor of Veterans Day (pictured, right) and the many veteran-supportive initiatives underway at the College. In addition, the community is invited to the MCTC Veterans Day recognition event “Honoring All Who Served” on Thursday, Nov. 6 from noon–1:30 p.m. The following events will take place:

  • Noon—Flag raising and veterans tree dedication ceremony featuring the MCTC Choir and Public Safety Color Guard (outdoor plaza flagpole)
  • 12:15–1:30 p.m.—Veterans Day Recognition Program (H.1002)

The MCTC community is also invited to visit the “Remember a Vet” display in the Hennepin Ave. Skyway from Nov. 3–7.

Into the Future

Asche, an MCTC Veteran Certifying Official and other individuals are available to assist veterans in the enrollment process and to provide guidance in the veterans benefit application process. As MCTC heads into the future and welcomes veterans at every point, the College strives to remain flexible and relevant for its entire community.

MCTC Recognizes the Service of Veteran Students Like Tim Moore

Posted on: November 11th, 2013 by insidemctc No Comments

MCTC student Tim MooreOn Veterans Day, many reflect on acts of bravery, selflessness, self-sacrifice or patriotism. If you talk to Tim Moore, he might tell you about the quieter, less visible experiences a veteran has: Transition. Culture shock. Self-exploration. The depths of depression followed by the joy of community support.

Tim joined the National Guard in 1983 after graduating from the University of Massachusetts and working for a time in a community service agency. Over the next 30 years he served with the Guard in four different states, and served several years’ active duty as a medical lab technician in the U.S. and Germany.

“In 2005, while working with the Guard in Minnesota, I was in charge of medically clearing 4,500 soldiers for deployment to Iraq,” said Tim. “When I finished, they cleared me to go to Iraq too.” Tim spent his 50th birthday in Camp Shelby, Miss. undergoing hot-weather training. “Shortly after that, I went to sleep in a big iron bird. When I woke up, I was in Iraq.”

Recounting his experience in Iraq during a time of war, Tim is measured, fair and somewhat removed. “It was a positive experience,” said Tim. “I learned a great deal and met a lot of good people. I saw some of the horrors of war, and was injured.” Tim returned to the States for medical treatment, and upon re-joining civilian life, discovered some aspects of his pre-war life simply didn’t make sense to him. “I was hyper-sensitive to sound. I was hyper-vigilant. I didn’t trust anybody, and I couldn’t go near large crowds. I had all the signs and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, but I didn’t know what was going on. I didn’t have anybody around me who I trusted enough to tell this to. I felt so out of place—you’re not going to believe this—I wanted to go back.”

“You leave whole, and some of us come back in pieces,” Tim said. “Everyone else stays the same, but you don’t.”

Tim’s father passed away shortly after he returned from Iraq, and Tim became withdrawn. He struggled for many months and fell into depression. After a time, Tim found his way to a veteran’s home in St. Cloud, Minn., where he decided furthering his education would be his next step. He heard good things about MCTC’s Veteran’s Upward Bound (VUB) program, so he investigated.

“When I visited, I met the staff at VUB, and that was the beginning,” said Tim. “For the next three semesters that I was with VUB at MCTC, they were always encouraging. They never judged me—just encouraged me to ask questions of myself.”

Tim found he had a penchant for math. “When I started with VUB, I was at a crossroads with math. I worked with one of the math instructors at MCTC, Ursula Walsh. She encouraged me to focus more, and helped me clear my head.”

In the spring of 2013, Tim worked with VUB advisors to apply for graduate school, and hit a bump in the road. “I found out I had an outstanding loan—from the year 1900,” said Tim. “With help from a VUB advisor, Russell, I learned when the University of Massachusetts switched to a computerized system in the mid-80s something went wrong in my file. It took two months to sort it out, but after that I was able to apply to grad school.”

Tim spoke at an anniversary celebration for MCTC’s TRIO programs recently. Veteran’s Upward Bound, one of five TRIO programs at the College, celebrated 40 years with MCTC, and Tim shared his story with a rapt audience of around 100 attendees. “The strongest thing I ever did,” Tim said at the anniversary celebration, “was learn how to ask for help.” Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison joined the celebration by way of pre-recorded video, and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak proclaimed Oct. 15, 2013 to be TRIO Day in the city of Minneapolis.

This fall, Tim began graduate school at Hamline University in St. Paul. His goal? To become a math teacher.

“It’s not enough to have a fire,” said Tim. “You have to have focus. Veteran’s Upward Bound helped me find my focus.”

Equipped for success through Veterans Upward Bound

Posted on: August 8th, 2012 by insidemctc No Comments

Tyler La Roue

The tragic events that marked Sept. 11, 2001, ignited a passion in Tyler La Roue to protect and defend the freedoms of the United States of America. Out of that passion came eight years of dedicated service in the Air Force, including six years in the inactive reserves and two years in active duty. After his service, he turned his attention toward his future. As he now pursues a college degree, he counts it a privilege to allow his country to support his education in part through the Veterans Upward Bound (VUB) program at Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC).

Discovering tools to succeed

Being outside of an educational environment for many years, La Roue knew academic success would require him to adjust to the college culture. His uncle Charles, also a veteran, told him about the Veterans Upward Bound (VUB) program at MCTC—a program from which he had benefited a generation prior. It was through VUB that La Roue found the support he needed to succeed in his educational goals.

VUB is a full-service, federally funded TRiO program designed to prepare veterans for college by offering free college prep courses in writing, reading, math, science, computer literacy, Spanish and study skills.

Through the program, La Roue had the opportunity to enhance his skills in a variety of academic areas that prepared him for success in liberal arts at MCTC. “Sharpening my skills helped me know when I started taking classes at the College, I would be able to ace them,” La Roue said.

Thriving through connections

La Roue discovered more than academic support through VUB. He found a place where he could connect and be understood—a place that served as an extension of the companionship he had encountered in the Armed Forces.

“My favorite part of the VUB experience is the camaraderie between veterans,” said La Roue. “It is the same kind of brotherhood/sisterhood we found as active duty service men and women. I also experienced great comradeship between the veterans and our fearless VUB leaders.”

In addition to providing academic guidance, VUB program leaders dedicate their time and energy to providing veterans with career, personal and financial aid counseling.

“VUB has a wonderful staff who give their all to make sure student veterans become successful in all aspects of college life—and life in general,” La Roue said. “The program leaders have a wealth of knowledge pertaining to life, veterans, colleges and the G.I. Bill. This type of information isn’t always readily available at many colleges.”

Looking ahead

After finishing his studies at MCTC, La Roue plans on transferring to the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota to pursue a degree in business management. He will be one of the first in his family to complete a college education.

“The greatest thing I will take away from this program and carry into my future is simple,” La Roue said. “When the terrorists knocked down the twin towers, my country allowed me to serve and contribute to the betterment of this nation. When I finished my service and decided to go back to college, I allowed my country to support my education. They have given me more than I could have asked, and VUB is part of that.”