Staff members participate in military immersion training

Aug 21, 2015

With increasing numbers of military veterans participating in higher education, including here at North Central College, new ways to better connect and relate to student veterans are necessary to ensure their seamless transition into upper-level learning.

Because veterans’ lives are different than most other incoming students, it can be difficult to understand what they’ve experienced. Providing experiential training to North Central College staff members like Julie Carballo, veteran services coordinator, and Sarah Koukal, director of residence life and coordinator of student affairs assessment, has been valuable as they’ve experienced military life firsthand.

This summer, Carballo and Koukal participated in military immersion training offered by Illinois Joining Forces (IJF). Held at the Illinois National Guard Training Facility in Marseilles, Ill., the event simulated a typical day of military services training. Physical skills test, firearms training, aircraft displays and virtual battlespace systems, as well as sleeping in barracks, were part of the experience.

“Participating in IJF’s Military Immersion Training increased my understanding of the military and veteran culture as I experienced life on a military base and interacted with active service members,” Carballo said. She learned about the physical and mental hardships student veterans endured while serving in the military. “This experience helped me to better understand the needs of our student veterans when they separate from military service and transition to life as a student in our North Central community,” she added.

Named a military-friendly school every year since 2012 by G.I. Jobs magazine, North Central continues to make strides in its services to veterans. This fall the College will be home to 30 students with a military service background.

By Devan Conness ’16