University of San Diego, Veteran Student Services Coordinator - Amanda Etter & Associated Students Finance Chair - Jhonnatan Chinchilla with Derek Abbey - Guest Host of Rise Up Radio filling in for James Carmody & Jennifer Krewalk - Exec. Director & Producer of Rise Up Radio
Veterans Student Services Coordinator for University of San Diego Amanda Etter and senior student veteran at USD Johnny Chinchilla, joined Rise Up Radio guest host, Derrek Abby, to unpack the veteran and military programs available at USD. Chinchilla and Etter also talk about the recent USD Founders Gala event that was held on Veterans Day and the Military Transition Conference coming up in February.
Etter, who oversees the military and veteran program at USD, explains to Abby, “The military connected student population has grown 30% in the past two years. Working with military connected students on campus, the University is still very young at that. We’re the youngest of the top 100 schools across the country. We’re still kind of getting to grow, we have a lot of growth going on right now. It’s a really big time and we’re a change maker campus. So it’s a good time for us to highlight our military students.” The Founders Gala raised almost $1.3 million for all across campus students and over $500,000 for a new specific endowed scholarship for veteran students, according to Etter.
Chinchilla, who is one of the students highlighted at the Founders Gala did four combat deployments during his 12 year service in the Marine Corps. He is the Finance Chair for the student government and manages the $1.2 million in student activity fees. He is also President of the Student Veteran Organization at USD. When asked about why he chose USD he tells Abby, “It was the small classroom setting coming from the military and being use to a small unit leadership, I want to get to know my professors, I want to know who my classmates are, at USD you could do that, you’re not a number you’re student, you’re Johnny, you get to go in office hours with your professors, if you don’t understand the material you just wait there until you get it, they are there helping you every step of the way.” He added, “Having that support and that guidance from the faculty and staff is really amazing, everyone around campus knows who you are. That’s really a good feeling, it reminds me of being in the military.”
USD has 760 military connected students, that include active duty, veterans, dependent children, spouses and students who are active duty pursuing an ROTC, according to Etter. She talks about how University of San Diego’s focus is not simply on the veterans, but all of the students at the University who are military connected. She and Chinchilla stress that they want veterans to know enrolling in USD is attainable and affordable thanks to the numerous scholarships, the GI Bill, etc.