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STEM Careers for Disabled Veterans

Disabled veterans are one of the most likely groups in the U.S. to be underemployed. However, NSF-supported programs specifically designed for this community are encouraging them to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) degrees and careers.  

Springfield Technical Community College in Massachusetts developed an "at ease" learning community for disabled veterans highlighting that non-degree certification programs are a viable avenue for entry into STEM degree programs. At the University of Missouri-Kansas City, faculty and staff are engaging disabled veterans in a project that includes peer support, assistance navigating college programs and systems, and academic workshops. This "STEM scholar program" has increased veteran members by 200 percent in the past year.

As veteran student enrollment has increased at the University of Washington, the AccessSTEM project established an online community for veterans with and without disabilities. This method of peer support and mentoring guides disabled veterans through the university system maze and facilitates student retention in STEM degree programs.

Results from model projects supporting disabled veterans in STEM are providing data for colleges and universities across the country about interventions to advance the nation's "wounded warriors" in STEM.

NSF support for community colleges and research universities is helping to implement and study the effectiveness of four interventions:  Learning communities, peer support and mentoring, on-line communities, and college guidance navigating the STEM academic pathway.

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  • wounded warrior describes her stem success at veterans think tank
Kara Hayes shares her transition success story at Veterans Think Tank.
Alexis Petri, University of Missouri-Kansas City

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