Student veteran Student veteran Michelle Odvina, US Navy, stands in the Veterans' Resource Center flag garden.
Student veteran Michelle Odvina, US Navy.

Southwestern College has again been designated a Military Friendly School for its service to student veterans and military-affiliated students. This year, for the first time ever, Southwestern College has been designated a “gold” award among large community colleges for 2022-2023 for exceeding the standards among Military Friendly Schools.

Methodology and criteria were determined and evaluated by an independent council of higher education and military professionals. The council reviewed the institution’s scores on student retention, graduation, job placement, degree advancement and financial aid for student veterans.

One of the veteran students served by Southwestern College is Michelle Odvina, who served in the U.S. Navy for five years and is one of the student workers in the Veterans Resource Center.

Odvina served as a hospital corpsman and worked in medical facilities, including trauma centers. During her time in the Navy, Odvina was selected as one of the top three corpsmen in her hospital when she was stationed in the Great Lakes. After her service, Odvina returned to her hometown to find her way after the Navy and pursue a career in nursing.

“Coming into civilian life, I was a little lost,” Odvina said. “Then I came to Southwestern College and I had never felt more supported. Right away, I was let know about all the resources available to me, and now as a work-study student in the Veterans’ Resource Center, I get to help other veterans who need that same support.”

Jonathan “JD” White said the special designation is thanks to the hard work of staff, students, faculty and administrators who work diligently to support veterans and military-affiliated students.

“Throughout the pandemic, Southwestern College was able to continue and expand our efforts bringing services and support to our students,” White said. “The dedication of our community to our veterans is a true testament to excellence in service.”

Southwestern College’s services for student veterans and military-affiliated students include dedicated student services through Veterans Services, specialized counselors, military benefits and financial aid professionals, and the Veterans Resource Center. Student veterans and military-affiliated students can learn more about Southwestern College’s veteran support and services at