2019 NASPA Symposium on Military-Connected Students

February 07 – February 09, 2019
Renaissance Las Vegas Hotel | Las Vegas, Nevada

Hosted annually, the NASPA Symposium on Military-Connected Students focuses on effective strategies to serve and support the success of veterans and other military-connected students. To view last year's proceedings, take a look at the 2018 event website or the program book.

Register Online


Military-connected students comprise a growing population in higher education, and are those who enroll in postsecondary education with current or prior service with the military and their dependents. These students are also diverse in terms of demographic characteristics and service backgrounds, placing an important role on student affairs professionals and leaders to develop comprehensive, targeted, and meaningful support services to encompass the needs of these unique students. The Symposium provides opportunities for professionals and other stakeholders to share and learn ways to effectively support military-connected students.

This 2.5 day symposium features keynote sessions; research, policy, and best practices presentations; and workshop style sessions to help campus professionals develop or enhance their programming and services for military-connected students.


  • Click here for history

    The NASPA Symposium on Military-Connected Students evolved from the University of Louisville Veteran Symposium for Higher Education that had been conducted in Louisville, Kentucky for the first six years of the program. Under the University of Louisville’s direction, the conference grew from a small one-day conference into the premiere conference on student veterans with over 200 participants in its final years. The University of Louisville transitioned host responsibilities to NASPA after the 2014 Symposium to provide a national forum for the institutional policy, programming, and concerns of military and student veteran populations.

    The symposium was envisioned by Tom Jackson, a military veteran, and Frank Mianzo. At the time they envisioned the program, Tom Jackson served as the Vice President for Student Affairs and Frank Mianzo served as the Chief of Staff for the Office of the President for Student Affairs, both at the University of Louisville. It was their desire to host an annual program that focused on issues related to student veterans while bringing together colleagues committed to serving student veterans. With the program planning and general assistance of Kathy Snead from Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges, Shirley Hardy, Laura Mercer, and Glenn Gittings from the University of Louisville, the symposium flourished each successive year.

    NASPA is grateful for the University of Louisville’s focus and leadership on this important area of higher education and looks forward to continuing the growth and development of the conference to best serve the professional development needs of those who work with our student veterans and other military-connected students

    In February 2014, NASPA was honored to assume planning and hosting duties at the request of the University. The 2015 NASPA Veterans Conference boasted over 240 participants and 40 different programs. In 2016, the event changed its name to more accurately reflect the population of students served by attendees and more closely align with trends in research and policy.


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National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC)

NASPA has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 5120. Programs that do not quality for NBCC credit are clearly identified. NASPA is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.

Click here for more information on Continuing Education and frequently asked questions.

If you have questions about Continuing Education, please contact Teri Gillmor at [email protected].


Presented By


This event is most likely to influence these groups.

  • New Professional
  • Mid-Level
  • Senior Level
  • Graduate


Let others know you are coming!

Use this hashtag to see what others are sharing #SMCS19

Call for Programs

The call for programs is closed. A complete schedule of breakout sessions can be found below.

Conference Themes & Suggested Topics

  • Military-Connected Students 101

    Potential sub-topics:

    • Transitions to civilian life
    • Counseling and mental health
    • Pursuing an education while serving
    • Supporting spouses and children on campus

    Learning Outcomes:

    Programs associated with this track should allow attendees to:

    • Identify unique characteristics of military-connected students in higher education
    • Understand possible barriers to programmatic success and develop strategies to offset these challenges
    • Identify multiple sub-populations within the military connected identity and their unique challenges
    • Recognize challenges of supporting students with families
    • Identify processes to prepare military-connected students to the workforce
    • Articulate the ways in which veteran students’ experiences translate to a civilian career path

  • Policy, Research, and Assessment

    Potential sub-topics:

    • National policies impacting military-connected students
    • Current research on military-connected student trends
    • Evidence-based support programs for military-connected students
    • Assessment of programs/resources/opportunities

    Learning Outcomes:

    Programs associated with this track should allow attendees to:

    • Recognize the effect of state and federal education benefits on the successful enrollment and persistence of military-connected students
    • Understand practices to assess needs and/or outcomes of campus-based services to support military-connected students
    • Describe research findings as they relate to supporting military-connected students
    • Understand the current landscape on policy, at the national, state, and local level related to military-connected students.
    • Have a comprehensive understanding of the key-stakeholders involved in policy making at the federal, state, and campus level on issues related to military-connected students.

  • Lessons Learned: Campus Programming

    Potential sub-topics:

    • Failed campus programs and lessons learned
    • Adapting models of successful initiatives for your campus
    • Lack of support/funding and process to support students despite this challenge

    Learning Outcomes:

    Programs associated with this track should allow attendees to:

    • Create programming to assist the campus community in understanding military-connected students
    • Engage attendees in reflection and discussion regarding similarly struggling programs on their own campuses
    • Identify and leverage unique campus programming that meets the needs of military-connected students
    • Construct programs to address relevant issues for military-connected students through internal and external partnerships

Submission Timeline
  • Call for Programs Opens
    May 23, 2018
  • Program Reviewer Interest Due
    September 7, 2018
  • Call for Programs Deadline
    September 14, 2018
  • Program Reviews Completed
    September 21, 2018
  • Program Notification Notifications Sent
    October 5, 2018
  • Presenter Confirmations Due
    October 12, 2018
  • Program Schedule Posted Online
    October 19, 2018
  • Presenter Orientation Webinar
    December 7, 2018

Writing Tips

Looking for tips on writing an effective NASPA proposal? See sample submissions and formatting tips in our Program Submission Guidelines.


Please contact NASPA if you have any further questions about submitting a program proposal for the 2019 NASPA Symposium on Military-Connected Students.

Jake Frasier
Assistant Director of Professional Development
Phone: 202-719-1180
Email: [email protected]


The schedule was designed to provide participants with interactive and engaging programming, opportunities for deeper discussion, and networking. For a printable schedule at a glance, click the button below.

The schedule is subject to minor changes.

Full Schedule

Thu, Feb 07

7:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Check-in Open
Please check-in with a conference staff member upon arrival to obtain your name badge, program book, and other program information.
9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Pre-Symposium Workshops
Additional registration required to attend.
Epic Steps to Military-Connected Student Victory on your Campus
Serving Veterans and Other Military-Connected Students 301
Veteran Center 101 – Empowering Military-Connected Students through a Strategic Plan
12:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Exhibitor Tables Open
1:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
Symposium Welcome and Opening Keynote Speaker
2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Concurrent Sessions I
Attendees can select to either attend one 2-hour session or two 1-hour sessions between 2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Collaboration Within and Beyond Your Campus: Relationship Building for the Veterans Education Community
Green Zone Training for Staff and Faculty: Development, Challenges, and Success
How Key Decision Points Affect Student Veterans' Education Life Cycle Outcomes
Preparing Faculty to Work With Veterans From a Disability Perspective
Research and Strategic Planning for Student Veteran Strength and Success
The Involved Military-Connected Community
VA Benefits and Education Abroad: Even G.I.'s can Study Abroad
When they [can't] ask for Help: Supporting Student Veterans through Food Pantries
3:45 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.
Military-Connected Student Plenary Panel
5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Networking Reception and Poster Sessions
Examining the Effect of Military Service on Sense of Belonging Among Student Veterans
Examining the Impact of Acquired Job Skills on Veteran's Career Satisfaction
From Camouflage to Regalia: Military Funds of Knowledge Amongst Student Veterans
“Now I’m Ready!” Preparing Student Veterans for College Admissions, Coursework, and Graduation
One Vision: Improving Military and Veteran Student Success through Integrated Planning
“Thank you for Your Service": Not just a Slogan in Georgia

Fri, Feb 08

7:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Check-in and Exhibitor Tables Open
7:45 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.
Continental Breakfast Available
8:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.
NASPA Veterans Knowledge Community Open Meeting
8:45 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.
Plenary Panel with The Pew Charitable Trusts>
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Concurrent Sessions II
"After They've Seen Paris:" World War I Veterans on Campus
Assessing the Impact of Faculty and Staff Ally Training
Intro to Literature: the Veteran Experience (an Unintentional Course for Non-vets)
Stronger Together: Office Collaboration to Promote Suicide Prevention for Military-Connected Students
The Aggie Veteran Network: Connecting Student Veterans for Success
Understanding and Critiquing Military-friendly Employers: Implications for Higher Education Administrators
What Worked for You, Didn’t work for me and Worked for Us Both
Women in the Military: Understanding Women’s Contributions to National Service and Post-Service Civilian Life
11:15 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.
Learning Labs I
30 minute sessions designed to give participants actionable ideas and tools to take back to their campus. Presenters will share ideas for 20 minutes followed by 10 minutes for questions.
#LearnByTweet: Creating a Free, Tweetable Study Skills Curriculum for Student Veterans
Don’t Let the Tail wag the Dog: Creating a Full-time Therapy Dog Program
Ecotherapy: Enhancing Student Veterans Way of Life
Engaging and Retaining Online-only Student Veterans: A Framework for Higher Education
Operation Diversity Connection: Minority, Military-Connected Students in Higher Education
OUTREACH: Increasing Veteran Population at Your Campus
Points of Contact: Bridging On- and Off-campus Resources to Serve Military-Connected Students
12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Lunch and NASPA Veterans Knowledge Community Awards
(additional registration required); or, Lunch on your Own
1:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Learning Labs II
30 minute sessions designed to give participants actionable ideas and tools to take back to their campus. Presenters will share ideas for 20 minutes followed by 10 minutes for questions.
Pre-enrollment Advisement: Navigating the College Application and Admissions Process
Serving the Female Veteran Population
Supports for Families of the Fallen
The Student Veteran Career Crash Course
Thinking Critically about Student Veteran Services
Using Peer Mentorship Programs to Promote a Holistic Approach to Student Success
2:15 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Afternoon Dialogues
(Roundtable Discussions)
Difficult Conversations: Supporting Veterans Transitioning in the Post 9/11 era
Peer Support in the Effectiveness of the "Online Moving Forward" Course
Student Veterans' Transition from Combat to College and their View of Support Services
Understanding the Challenges of Moral Injury with Student Veterans
3:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Networking Break
4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Large General Interest Sessions
A Landscape of Federal Policy for Military-Connected Students
Lessons Learned: How to Support Military-Connected Students with Limited to no Funding
The Changing Face of Service: Exploring the Diversity of Military-Connected Students
The Transition: Student Veterans Engaging in Leadership through a High Impact Practice

Sat, Feb 09

7:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Check-in and Exhibitor Tables Open
7:45 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.
Continental Breakfast Available
8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
Concurrent Sessions III
Camo to College: Transforming Military Cultural Intelligence in Higher Education
From ‘Broken Heroes’ to Public Servants: Transforming Persistent Myths about Post-9/11 Veterans
How to Serve Without Having Served: A Journey to VA Certification
Mapping Out Your Journey: A Guide to Veteran Assessment
Military-Connected on Campus: Working with Faculty
Navigating the VA Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits Process: Advocating for Student Veterans
Practical Magic: Program Development and Student Theory
The Issue of Toxic Masculinity in a Veterans Center
9:45 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.
Concurrent Sessions IV
Am I a Veteran or I am a Veteran: The Culture Around Women Who Serve
Connecting Veterans with their Career Centers
In the Background: Military Dependents in the U.S. and Higher Education
Lessons Learned from the Veteran Success Collaborative: A Pilot Program
Online Programming for Military-Connected Students: Who, How and Why
Student Veteran Persistence: Results of a Single-Institution Study
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Closing Keynote Speaker

Pre-Conference Programs & Events

Veteran Center 101 – Empowering Military-Connected Students through a Strategic Plan

Thursday, February 7th • 09.00 AM – 12.00 PM

The purpose of this pre-conference workshop will be to discuss how to go about building a veterans center that meets the needs of your student veterans.

View More Details


Steven A Borden, Director, Pat Tillman Veterans Center - Arizona State University


The purpose of this pre-conference workshop will be to discuss how to go about building a veterans center that meets the needs of your student veterans. While there are some accepted best practices, the truth is that they do not all work in every situation. It has taken 6 years of continuing to build, revise, rebuild and improve the Pat Tillman Veterans Center at Arizona State University. This is an opportunity for an interactive discussion of lessons learned during this process and success as well as not so successful outcomes experienced at ASU and other schools with whom we have collaborated.

Epic Steps to Military-Connected Student Victory on your Campus

Thursday, February 7th • 09.00 AM – 12.00 PM

This pre-conference workshop will engage participants in a conversation around the solutions and obstacles in serving our student veterans. Presenters representing a large four-year, medium four-year, and community college will share proven steps in becoming the “go-to leader”.

View More Details


Robert B. Mayer, Director of Veteran Services - Mount Wachusett Community College

Ross D. Bryant, Major (ret), U.S. Army & Director, Military & Veteran Services Center - University of Nevada Las Vegas

Paul H. Viau, Jr., Ed.D., Associate University Registrar & Director, Veterans Academic Resource Center - University of Central Florida


This pre-conference workshop will engage participants in a conversation around the solutions and obstacles in serving our student veterans. Presenters representing a large four-year, medium four-year, and community college will share proven steps in becoming the “go-to leader” for building and championing collaborative veteran services and resource partners in your community, influencing your campus, cultivating support, and establishing win-win relationships to promote needed change. These collaborations include developing campus and community partnerships for various veteran programs, promoting veteran employment/internship opportunities, being proactive in joining together leaders in the community to assist student veterans, and building a strong relationship with the VA. 

Learning Objectives:

  1. Share some of their greatest accomplishments and successes in the development and advancement of support services for military-affiliated students through collaborative efforts.
  2. Acknowledge and share their own ongoing struggles and works-in-progress to address, manage and alleviate these struggles through collaborative efforts, and offer insight, advice, guidance, encouragement and possible solutions to help combat these struggles.
  3. Leave with a list of opportunities for potential collaboration with various on-campus and community resources that will aid in the development of improved policies, procedures and programs that directly support military-affiliated students.
  4. Leave this session with a greater sense of connectedness with their “comrades in the field” and a renewed sense of empowerment as they head back to their home bases with an arsenal of ideas to combat the challenges faced by our military-affiliated students.

How you can affect policy decisions at your institution, at governmental agencies, and at the Legislative Level

Thursday, February 7th • 09.00 AM – 12.00 PM

Affecting change, in most cases keeping bad policy from being implemented, is the most challenging job a Military and Veteran Program / Center Director has. To successfully maneuver this minefield a knowledge of “how things are done” is imperative.

View More Details


Luis Valera, J.D., Vice President for Governmental Affairs - University of Nevada Las Vegas

Regina Young-Hyatt, Ph.D., Vice President for Student Affairs - Mississippi State University

Tanya Ang, Vice President - Veterans Education Success  


Affecting change, in most cases keeping bad policy from being implemented, is the most challenging job a Military and Veteran Program / Center Director has. To successfully maneuver this minefield a knowledge of “how things are done” is imperative. This pre-con will give you the information on the inner workings of policy formation and the insight on how to develop the collaborations necessary to positively impact the process. Presenters represent university leadership, 501©(3) management, and a governmental affairs professional.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Participants will develop an understanding of the purpose of policy formation and what triggers policy formation.
  2. Participants will gain an understanding how policy decisions are made.
  3. Participants will acquire the knowledge necessary to affect policy decisions through collaboration and information.
  4. Participants will create an understanding of how “politics” impacts policy decisions at the agency and legislative levels and how to influence it.


Registration as a member is based on your individual membership status. For more details on member statuses check here.

  • If you are employed by a college or university that is a NASPA institutional member, you can join as an individual member at the $75 rate.
  • If your institution is NOT a member, then you will need to join at the associate affiliate rate of $242.

For questions about membership and to check if your institution is a current member, contact our membership team at 202-265-7500.

For information on group rates and registration policies, please click the Registration Policies button.

Register Online

Registration Fees

before 11/30/2018
12/01/2018 to 01/11/2019
after 01/12/2019
NASPA Member
NASPA Student Member
Pre-Symposium Workshop


Tonya Murphy
Membership Coordinator
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 202-265-7500 ext. 1183

Jake Frasier
Assistant Director of Professional Development
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 202-719-1180


View Registration Policies

Cancellation:  The cancellation deadline to receive a refund is November 30, 2018, less a $50.00 administrative fee.  All cancellation and refund requests must be received in writing.  No refunds will be given after this date for any reason.  All requests for cancellation and refunds must be in writing to [email protected]aspa.org .

Group Registration: NASPA offers discounts for attendees registering in groups of two or more individuals. To apply for this discount please contact NASPA at events@naspa.org . Please include in the email your name, the conference you're registering for, your institution name, and how many individuals you're registering. Our membership department will contact you once they've received this information.

Purchase Orders: Purchase orders will NOT be accepted for registration. There is now a Bill Me option online if you need to submit paperwork to your accounting office to have a check cut for your registration payment. Please use that option when registering online.

Substitutions: Substitutions are allowed by individuals within the same institution/company. Substitutions should have the same member classification so that the payment is an even exchange transfer of payment. Please email your request for the substitute attendee to [email protected] 

Registration Questions? Contact the NASPA office at 202-265-7500 or via e-mail at [email protected] .


  • Luis Visot

    Luis Visot

    Doctoral Candidate & Major General (Ret. U.S. Army)
    George Washington University

    Speaker Bio

  • Linda Herlocker, Ed.D.

    Linda Herlocker, Ed.D.

    Vice President of Student Affairs
    Florida State College at Jacksonville

    Speaker Bio

  • Charlie Willson

    Charlie Willson

    Officer, Student Loan Initiatives
    The Pew Charitable Trusts

    Speaker Bio


If you would like to exhibit at or sponsor the 2019 NASPA Symposium on Military-Connected Students please fill out the exhibitor application form and e-fax back all pages to 202-903-0657 or scan and e-mail to [email protected] by January 4, 2019. Questions? Contact Kristie Jacobsen Jerde by phone at 218-280-7578 or via email at [email protected].

During the event, please visit the Symposium exhibitor tables at the following dates and times:

  • Thursday, February 7: 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Friday, February 8: 7:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.


Renaissance Las Vegas Hotel
Las Vegas, Nevada

All conference activities will take place at the Renaissance Las Vegas.

NASPA has arranged special room rates for conference attendees at the Renaissance Las Vegas starting at $175/night (not including 13.38% applicable tax ). The cut-off date to receive the conference room rate is Wednesday, January 16, 2019. Rooms in the conference block may sell out prior to the cut-off date, so please make your reservation as soon as possible.


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