College sees high veteran enrollment

by Joe Regan | 3/30/16 5:49pm

Ten veterans will join the College’s Class of 2020 through a partnership with the Posse Foundation’s Veterans Program. The “posse” of seven male and three female veterans will be funded and supported throughout their four years of college. Dartmouth is one of three schools to participate in the program.

The program is an extension of the Posse Foundation’s recruitment and placement process at selective institutions of higher education. Originally designed to increase minority student enrollment at these institutions, the veterans program uses the same philosophy of creating a cohort, or posse, and preparing them for the college admissions process and providing guidance until graduation.

Will Corbett ’10, senior assistant director of admissions and the coordinator of veteran admissions at Dartmouth, said that he has seen the most veterans coming to the College at one time during his tenure in admissions.

“Usually there are about 22 veterans at the College at any one time,” Corbett said. “This year we already have 10 coming as a part of the Posse program.”

Former College President James Wright, who was a veteran himself, advocated for the post-9/11 G.I. Bill that was expanded to include tuition at private schools and helped bring more veterans to Dartmouth. Wright said that this will be the first time female veterans matriculate to the College.

Corbett also said that most of the veterans in the past came as transfer students from other colleges. He said that Dartmouth is unique in its proportion of veterans that come through the transfer process.

Stephen Fraser ’20 will come to Dartmouth as part of the veterans posse. Fraser, who served in the United States Marine Corps, said that he began to think about college after his tour ended. In the Marine Corps, he worked as a cyber network operator responsible for military data networks and satellite communications in the Middle East.

“It was a once in a lifetime experience,” Fraser said. “There is this strange feeling where you are a part of history, that it is unfolding before your eyes.”

In researching colleges, Fraser thought about his love for the outdoors and his desire for a focus on undergraduate teaching. It led him to apply to Dartmouth once he felt he had a sense of the College’s culture.

Fraser credits the Posse program for allowing him to consider attending Dartmouth as an option and with aiding him throughout the application process.

“They make the next step of college a seamless transition,” he said. “We’re ready once we hit campus. I have a support system in my posse.”

Justin Wince ‘20, another incoming Posse veteran, left college to join the Airforce, where he became certified as an optometry technician, serving in Afghanistan, Korea and in a humanitarian mission to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. After finishing an associate’s degree in Wyoming, he planned to complete a degree in chemical engineering at Truman State University before he saw a presentation about the Posse veterans program.

At Dartmouth, Wince looks forward to exploring opportunities and his personal interests, particularly neuroscience, inspired by a family history of Alzheimers’ disease.

“I feel like I’d like to be a part of that discovery and that research,” he said.

Wince added that members of his Posse group have been keeping in touch with each other, and he looks forward to having a network on campus.Corbett said that in his time at the College, he remembers sharing class experiences with other veterans.

“I remember being a student in history classes about the Middle East with folks who had served there,” he said. “That was a very powerful experience for me.”