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April 2024 Featured Campus: Austin Community College District

“The Austin Community College PAVE team has done an amazing job providing support for their military-connected students. The veterans services program at Austin Community College has been recognized by the State of Texas with the VERA award in late 2023 and the PAVE team has shown creativity and dedication in their outreach and engagement with military-connected students,” says Emma Czajka, PAVE Program Coordinator.

The Austin Community College District PAVE Team is composed of 5 Peer Advisers and Team Leader Raymond Cathey, led by their Veterans Outreach Coordinator, Dr. BethAnn Warwick. Together they serve over 2,500 military-connected students across 11 campuses.

The ACC PAVE team focus their efforts on creating a sense of community and belonging for the students they serve. Their Veterans Resource Center is a welcoming space and according to Raymond, “[Student Veterans] will see the email, but they won’t respond. But they know where we are…and we’re very engaging with them. We’re very friendly…and we help with everything”. Dr. Warwick agreed saying, “I do get thank yous from all the students. The students are really appreciating it. You know, they don’t realize they need it until they’ve got someone to talk to.” 

The team uses that strong sense of community as a foundation from which they are able to help make a difference for many military-affiliated students. Peer Advisor Jayden Gutierrez was able to help multiple students develope study regimens for academic success. Another Peer Advisor, Felix Madrid, describes how a student veteran looking to start a business and the VRC was able to connect them with several resources to help. Another Peer Advisor, Fabio Ventura, summed up the experience of helping military-affiliated students by saying “Generally you find that veterans are very disciplined and hardworking and they already have a lot of positive characteristics to succeed, they just need a little bit of guidance.” 

The Austin Community College PAVE team is able to provide some of that guidance to the students they serve. According to Felix, “Once students come in they are often surprised they haven’t come in sooner. It’s a big community.”

Keep up the amazing work supporting your military-affiliated students and community, Austin Community College PAVE team!