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Focused on academic, personal, and professional success for Pepperdine's veterans and military-connected students.

Monthly Newsletters

February 2021

  Director of Student Veteran Affairs Message

Welcome to February! Although it looks like our in-person sessions must still wait for now, our collective ability as veterans to overcome and adapt will continue to serve us well. Veterans are a resilient group, strengthened by diverse experiences, background, and leadership. The missions and people I served with over the years made me a better person. I’m sure most of you can say the same. We are all in this and stronger together. As we continue to build a veteran community at Pepperdine where everyone feels valued, included, supported, challenged, and prepared for God's plan for their lives, I want you to know your voice matters. If you have a suggestion to help improve our community and sense of belonging at Pepperdine, please do not hesitate to let me know.

You may also contact a fellow student on the PeppVet council. Members currently include:

PGBS: John Powers, Lauren Konrath, Arrio Granum
CSOL: Joe Castro
GSEP: Angela Ziccardi
Seaver: Carlos Olivas, Dimitri Smith
SPP: John Hayes

We're here to help and support your journey!

  New Pepperdine Veterans Website

We’re pleased to announce the new Veterans at Pepperdine website is now online. The website provides useful information and resources for Pepperdine’s veterans and military-connected students. We hope you find the site is a useful tool for information, resources, and how to connect throughout your Pepperdine journey. Users will be able to search for the site using Pepperdine's homepage and a link has also been added under Student Life in the homepage menu.

  Feedback Needed for Vets2Employers Event

Pepperdine is ramping up for the annual Vets2Employers Networking Event. This annual event, hosted by Career and Professional Development at Graziadio, is a networking mixer bringing together student veterans from all 5 schools at Pepperdine and connecting them with alumni and employers who are actively engaged in hiring veterans. It's a great opportunity to connect with Pepperdine student and alumni veterans, and companies across multiple business sectors. Previous companies that have participated, include Facebook, Live Nation, Morgan Stanley, Mattel, Deloitte, Google and many others. This year the event will be virtual and we'd love to get your feedback as to what type of virtual event you'd like this to be and the companies you'd be interested in networking with. Please complete the Vets2Employers survey by February 13, 2021.

We'd love to hear your thoughts. Thank you and keep a lookout for more details later this Spring. For information or questions email Jessica Cheng.

  Recovery Peer Support Group

A recovery peer support group is now available to address alcohol and drug recovery journey during the pandemic. Share experiences, get connected with your peers, and know that you are not alone. Sessions will be held on Mondays, 3-4 PM. Contact Sofia Fang for the Zoom link.

  Stay in Contact with Your School Certifying Official

As an important reminder, it is critical that you keep in contact with your school certifying official (SCO) throughout your journey here at Pepperdine. Keeping your SCO aware of concerns with VA payments, certification, financial aid, and changes to your enrollment hours are important to make sure your benefits are not impacted and you stay on course to graduate.

Students at GSEP, SPP, and CSOL, your SCO is Lucas Saucedo and for PGBS, your SCO is Sara Turki. Seaver students, you can contact either SCO, Lucas Saucedo or Sara Turki, for assistance.

Remember to diligently read through all correspondence the VA sends you, as well as periodically review and track your current benefits status on the VA website. This includes keeping your mailing address and bank account information updated.

  Featured Student: Keith Wainwright, CSOL

Keith Wainwright

Keith was raised in Norfolk, Virginia, and is an alum of Norfolk State University, class of 2011. Keith is the CEO/Founder of Reel Independence, Co-Founder of RI Consulting Group, a U.S. Air Force Veteran, and a law school graduate. As an entrepreneur, Keith developed a startup company that provides a social media platform for creative artists in the film industry to be able to network as well as get exposure for their projects. Through strategic planning, Keith has raised funds for not only his own personal endeavors, but for community projects and private organizations.

Reel Independence is a social media-based platform that will allow creative minds to network and collaborate to make their new and unique ideas come to life. Users will be able to communicate with professionals within the entertainment industry as well as individuals willing to invest in new and creative film ideas. This innovative platform is designed to facilitate the flow of original ideas from the script to the silver screen, while also building and promoting an environment where independent artists can thrive in today's extremely competitive film industry.

Keith is currently pursuing a Master of Dispute Resolution (MDR) and will graduate this summer. He plans to use his degree and experience at Pepperdine to improve his business, broaden his networking, and enhance his capabilities as a future attorney.

January 2021

  Director of Student Veteran Affairs Message

Happy 2021! I hope everyone had a great and safe Christmas and new year. I'm so excited for this year at Pepperdine and looking forward to a year full of new hope and positive change. As we start the year, please remember the veteran services team is here for you anytime, so please let us know when you have any need or concerns that we might be able to assist and/or provided direction. We're really looking forward to meeting you in person and hosting special events later this year. Have a great and blessed new year... stay happy and motivated!

  Networking Hour with Epirus Systems

U.S.VETS will host a virtual networking hour on January 5, 2021. Epirus Systems is seeking qualified veterans to fill roles in their aerospace & defense systems start-up in Hawthorne, CA. Positions include engineers, IT professionals, and other professional skills. RSVP to jdelatte@usvets.org for the Zoom link to the event.

  Traditional & Federal Resume Writing Clinics
U.S.VETS will host 2 sessions this month; the first session will focus on traditional resumes (January 7, 11 AM) and the second session will focus on federal resumes (January 14, 11 AM). Please be prepared with your entire professional history so you can be scheduled for follow-on one-on-one appointments to update resume information and formatting. To take advantage of these clinics, RSVP to jdelatte@usvets.org.
  Research on Veteran Homelessness
Janice Filer, a Doctoral student in the Graduate School of Education and Psychology is conducting research on veteran college students who have experienced homelessness in the past. The research is for veterans who would be interested in sharing information on the types of support that provided permanent housing in their journey from homelessness to housing. She would like to interview student veterans through zoom. Contact Janice if you'd like to participate and/or review the researcher's letter of recruitment to veteran students for the study.
  2021 Tillman Scholars Program
Applications for the 2021 Tillman Scholars Program will open February 1, 2021. Veterans and military spouses may apply for the program starting February 1 through February 28. Take some time to check out this unique and completive program; the latest information on applying to be a 2021 Tillman Scholar is now available.
  Featured Student: Dan Soto, PGBS

Veteran Dan news feature

"I pursued my MBA at The Graziadio Business School at Pepperdine to expand my ability to contribute and perform to the next level. I'm confident that I would not have accomplished my goal of completing my MBA while concurrently being married (to the love of my life) and a father to our seven children, becoming a published author and guest speaker, completing an award-winning documentary while actively managing our non-profit Warrior Angels Foundation had it not been for Pepperdine's Fully Employed Masters of Business Administration (FEMBA) program. I required a flexible program tailored to my unique needs and that is exactly what the program delivered. I was able to work with and around my schedule and take in-person weeknight courses at every Southern California campus offered in addition to on-line and hybrid courses (a mixture of in-person and on-line). The Faculty and Administration went out of their way to work with me, streamline the process, and remove all barriers so I could focus on the task at hand. This was not specific to me; this is how Pepperdine takes care of all its students. In my personal experience, if one is willing to put in the work, Pepperdine will deliver an individually tailored and first-class learning experience where students are strengthened for lives of purpose, service, and leadership."

December 2020

  Director of Student Veteran Affairs Message

Happy December! I hope everyone had a great Veterans Day and Thanksgiving. The holidays are a special time for friends, family and reflecting on our many blessings. As your new advocate at Pepperdine, my goal is that you will feel supported throughout your journey here and find genuine connection to the school and each other. Veterans have been a part of Pepperdine for over 70 years. As nontraditional students, veterans and military-connected students can and should make a huge impact on their school. Don't hold back to make a positive difference in all that you do. Your diversity of experience and background puts you in a perfect position to help provide unique insight and perspectives to any challenge. I encourage you to always look for ways to positively engage and use your life experiences to influence and help others grow. Your voice and leadership will continue to make positive changes in the years ahead.

I'm so proud to be a veteran and part of Pepperdine where our faith cherishes the dignity of every human being and celebrates diversity as a true representation of God's love and creative expression. We must always look for ways to improve ourselves and others while leaving room to be thankful, humble, and making allowance for each other's faults (Ephesians 4, NIV). We live in a great nation, served a great nation, and great days are always ahead. Please remember I am here for you, I'm proud of you, and look forward to helping you succeed now and in the future. Have a Merry Christmas and awesome new year!

  Fall Virtual Career Fair

Mark your calendars for the Los Angeles Career Development Initiative hosted by U.S.VETS of Los Angeles on Friday, December 4, 2020, 10 AM–1 PM. Participating employers include Anheuser-Busch, Hyundai, Union Pacific Railroad, and Amazon Web Services. It is recommended you have a resume available for review and editing. Get Your Tickets

  Together We Served: National Veterans Roll of Honor

The VA recently launched Together We Served, a new National Veterans Roll of Honor. The online resource is a tribute to the service of servicemen and women registered on Together We Served; one of the most complete and easy to look up formats available. Also honored are every soldier, sailor, Marine, airman and Coast Guardsman who gave their life serving our country, from the Vietnam War to Afghanistan, as well as many thousands who died during WW2 and the Korean War. A preview, which does not require a login is available online.

Over 2 million veterans are currently represented on the Roll of Honor. Veterans can join at no cost and search for and find people they served with by entering their years of service at the top of the Roll of Honor and conducting a simple name search. Contact can be made through the VA administrators or by joining Together We Served.

  Warrior Angels Foundation

Former US Army Special Forces Green Beret, Andrew Marr ('20), returned from his third deployment, a quietly broken man. The explosives expert suffered a multitude of concussions while detonating hundreds of blasts in Afghanistan. Unable to cope with his illness, he fell into a spiral of drug and alcohol abuse; even contemplating suicide at one point. When it was nearly too late, he met Neuroendocrinologist Dr. Mark L. Gordon, who properly diagnosed his condition as Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Andrew and his brother coauthored Tales from the Blast Factory: A Brain Injured Special Forces Green Beret's Journey Back from the Brink. Andrew is also the co-founder of the Warrior Angels Foundation. His story and others are featured in a new documentary, Quiet Explosions. View the Trailer

For more information, email the Warrior Angels Foundation or by phone at 479.553.9063.

  National Guard Birthday

On December 13, 1636, the National Guard was established. Today, the National Guard of the United States is a joint activity of the United States Department of Defense composed of reserve components of the United States Army and the United States Air Force: the Army National Guard of the United States for the Army and the Air National Guard of the United States for the Air Force. Happy birthday to our oldest component of the Armed Forces of the United States.

  Space Force Birthday

In 2019, President Trump signed into law legislation creating the first new armed service since 1947, the U.S. Space Force. The direct antecedent of the Space Force, Air Force Space Command, was formed on 1 September 1982 with responsibility for space warfare operations. Happy birthday to our youngest component of the Armed Forces of the United States.

  Featured Student: Angela Ziccardi, GSEP

Veteran Angela news feature

Angela Ziccardi is originally from Chicago, IL. She served in the United States Navy as a Submarine Officer from 2015–2020. Her duties included acting as her submarine's Reactor Control Assistant, Strike Officer, and Quality Assurance Officer. Her favorite part of submarining was driving the ship on the surface of the Indian Ocean. She is currently pursuing her MS in Leadership in Higher Education and will graduate next year.

Angela is also part of the Pepperdine Veteran (PeppVet) Council this year. Angela has lived in 10 cities in the last 10 years and is looking forward to settling down in Philadelphia, where she plans to earn her MBA from The Wharton School.

November 2020

  Director of Student Veteran Affairs Message

On Wednesday, November 11, 2020, we will celebrate another Veterans Day. As a new veteran this year, I am blessed to have wrapped up my military career to join Pepperdine in serving those who freely served our great nation. This entire year, including Veterans Day, is just different. We have all been in a bit of a fight this year; feeling a little battle worn. Too many challenges to count, and more are on the way. We feel like soldiers in a war that seems to be getting worse and more complex by the day. However, as a Christian, I am excited about our mission and finding strength in what matters most because in the end, there is just one enduring victory, one amazing rescue story, one battle that is always worth our fight. Trials and tough times are part of the human condition. My prayer for the coming months, for all of us, is that we find peace in what is good, what is kind, and what is everlasting. Better days are ahead. Have a wonderful and happy Veterans Day!

  Pepperdine Veterans Day Video

We invite you to join us in celebrating Veterans Day by viewing a special video commemoration that will go live on Wednesday, November 11, 2020. The presentation will include inspiring stories from veterans among the faculty, staff, alumni and student body at Pepperdine as well as special remarks from President Gash and a prayer offered by California State Guard veteran and Graziadio Business School administrator, Ken Murphy. With so many veterans working and learning alongside us at Pepperdine, we hope you will take this opportunity to salute those who freely served our country. The video links will be sent out via email prior to the event.

  VA Benefits Update

The recent passage of H.R.8337; Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021; and Other Extensions Act has extended the special COVID-19 rules through December 2021. Post 9/11 GI Bill students who pursue resident courses converted to an online modality solely due to COVID-19 will continue to receive their housing payment rate for resident training until December 2021, or until school resumes in-person classes. 

  Starting a Small Business

Pepperdine's Veteran Services, along with the California Transition Assistance Program (CalTAP), will be offering two events in a webinar series that will highlight benefits and services available to veterans and their family members interested in starting a Veteran-Owned Business. The event will cover key strategies for starting a small business as a veteran. In partnership with CalTAP, various speakers will provide a wealth of information that can assist those of you who, along with your families, pursue small business opportunities.  Webinars will be offered on Wednesday, November 4, 2020, from noon-1 PM and Friday, November 6, 2020, from 4-5 PM.

  Transitioning from Military to Civilian Careers

We invite you to join an event Pepperdine Graziadio Business School will host on November 11, 2020, noon-1:30 PM, regarding career transition. Featured testimonials, including alumni veterans, will share how they transitioned from military to civilian careers.

  LAUSD Veteran Networking Hour

U.S.VETS of Los Angeles will be hosting a networking hour with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) for any veteran who is interested in learning about careers (certificated and non-certificated) within education. The virtual networking event will take place on Friday, November 13, 2020, at 3 PM via Microsoft teams. The LAUSD Recruiting team will host the event, which will provide a great opportunity for veterans to network directly.

  Fall Virtual Career Fair

Mark your calendars for the Los Angeles Career Development Initiative hosted by U.S.VETS of Los Angeles on Friday, December 4, 2020, 10 AM-1 PM.  Participating employers include Anheuser-Busch, Hyundai, Union Pacific Railroad, and Amazon Web Services. It is recommended you have a resume available for review and editing.

  U.S. Marine Corps Birthday

November 10, 2020, will mark the U.S. Marine Corps' 245th birthday, officially established in 1775. Happy birthday to those who served, or continue to serve, in the great United States Marine Corps. Once a Marine, always a Marine... Semper Fidelis!

  Featured Student: Carlos Olivas, Seaver College

Veteran Carlos news feature

Carlos Olivas is originally from La Puente, CA. He served in the United States Marine Corps as an Administrative Specialist from 2012-2015 and later as a Marine Security Guard from 2015-2018. His duties included protective services at US Embassy's in Denmark, Russia, and Jordan. Carlos has remained a travel enthusiast and so far has traveled to 27 countries. He is a Political Science major at Seaver College and will graduate next year.

Carlos is planning to stay in California where he hopes to work as an Accident & Health Insurance Broker.

October 2020

  Director of Student Veteran Affairs Message

To those of you who are new to Pepperdine, like myself, welcome! To those of you who are returning, welcome back! I am honored to serve student veterans and other military-connected students who currently exceed 360 students. This includes 274 veterans, 83 family members, and 8 cadets participating in Reserve Officer Training Corps programs. As the director, I'm excited to be an ambassador for Pepperdine, its faith-based mission, and you! Even though this semester is completely different from what any of us expected it to be when the year of 2020 first began, I am confident that better days are ahead. Online learning and remote services can be a challenge, but the entire Pepperdine family and veterans support team are still here for you. Stay focused, remain resilient, and take courage in the fact that we will be stronger on the other side of all this. I am looking forward to the day when I get to welcome you back to campus and help you make on-the-ground waves at Pepperdine. If you need to contact me directly, please feel free to email eric.leshinsky@pepperdine.edu. Thank you for your time and service, and have a great month.

  Pepperdine Veteran (PeppVet) Council

A new steering committee (PeppVet Council) has been created to help build a veteran community at Pepperdine where everyone feels valued, included, supported, challenged, and prepared for God's plan for their lives. The council will include the director of student veteran affairs, school-certifying officials, student veterans from Pepperdine's five schools (each serving a term of one academic year), and other key advocates. Council members will serve as valuable points of contact, advocates, and ambassadors to fellow veterans and will endeavor to create and implement a variety of different initiatives, such as increasing vet-to-vet connections and fellowship. This year's council student veterans include Dan Soto (Graziadio), John Powers (Graziadio), Lauren Konrath (Graziadio), Joe Castro (CSOL), Carlos Olivas (Seaver), Dimitri Smith (Seaver), Michael Hardin (GSEP), and John Hayes (SPP).

  Meet Our Pepperdine Student Veterans Campaign

Over the course of this academic year, we will be featuring personal stories from various members of our diverse veteran community. If you would like to volunteer to share your story, please contact me at eric.leshinsky@pepperdine.edu.

  Translating Your Military Skillset: Resume and Interviewing Tips

US VETS of Los Angeles Career Development Initiative presents Translating Your Military Skillset: Resume and Interviewing Tips. This virtual workshop will feature special guest Sharon Stevens, military recruitment liaison at JPMorgan Chase on Friday, October 16, 2020 at 11 AM PST. RSVP to jlynn@usvetsinc.org or rfarrell@usvetsinc.org to receive the link.

  Optimizing LinkedIn

US VETS of Los Angeles Career Development Initiative will also be presenting a virtual workshop on learning how to create your LinkedIn profile and best acquire the experience you need to help optimize your job search. This workshop will take place on Thursday, October 1, 2020 from 2–3 PM PST. RSVP to jlynn@usvetsinc.org.

  Volunteer Services Networking Hour

US VETS will be offering a networking hour with special guest Alexia Lunningham, chief of voluntary services, Department of Veterans Affairs, on Monday, October 12, 2020 from 11 AM–noon PST. RSVP to jlynn@usvetsinc.org.

  Transitioning from Service to School

Transitioning from military service to school can pose many lessons and challenges, but it can also provide some incredible opportunities. Everyone's journey looks a bit different, yet fellow veterans encounter many of the same hurdles. Pepperdine's Veteran Services along with CalTAP will be offering Zoom sessions for student veterans and other military-connected students to share concerns, lessons learned, and tips for continued success on Monday, October 26, 2020 from noon–1 PM and also on Wednesday, October 28, 2020 from 5–6 PM PST. RVSP to eric.leshinsky@pepperdine.edu by October 22, 2020 to receive the Zoom link.

  Track Your Benefits

The importance of keeping track of your benefits and resources after you leave military service cannot be overstated. The VA Benefits and Services Participant Guide is a great resource for how to do just that. In addition, while using education benefits, I urge you to diligently read through all correspondence the VA sends you as well as periodically review and track your current benefits status on the eBenefits website (this includes keeping your mailing address updated). For your convenience, attached is a California Veterans Benefits Overview highlighting some state-level benefits. Your Pepperdine VA Education Benefits (Registrar's Office) points of contact are Sara Turki (sara.turki@pepperdine.edu) and Lucas Saucedo (lucas.saucedo@pepperdine.edu).

  One-Year Career Planning Mentor Program for Post-9/11 Veterans

Post-9/11 veterans can receive civilian career-planning assistance through customized one-on-one mentorship with business leaders nationwide (typically one hour/month for one year). Since 2008 more than 17,000 veterans have found success with an American Corporate Partners (ACP) mentor. Last year, nearly 2k veterans found new employment with the help of their ACP mentor. ACP mentors are volunteers from one of 85+ corporate partners, including: Deloitte, Disney/ESPN, Lockheed Martin, Major League Baseball, USAA, PepsiCo, and Wells Fargo. Mentors seek to help by equipping mentees with resume and interview skills, searching for meaningful employment, building a professional network, and refining career goals.

  California Transition Assistance Program (CalTAP) Webinars

The California Department of Veterans Affairs CalTAP office is offering free webinars on numerous veteran-focused subjects such as maximizing benefits, resiliency, employment, and starting a new business. Previously recorded seminars of interest to veterans are also available.

  Pepperdine Counseling Services

All counseling services for the fall will take place via telehealth. These services, provided by dedicated and professional staff, are free and kept separate from educational records to ensure complete confidentiality. Students can make an appointment by emailing student.counseling.center@pepperdine.edu or calling the counselor 24-hour access at 310.506.4210.

  US Navy's 245th Birthday

October 13, 2020 will mark the Navy's 245th birthday (officially established in 1775). Happy birthday to those who served, or continue to serve, in the great United States Navy.