1. Center Header – Chapter 4: Finding, Results, and Interpretations

2. Narrative –

a. Community colleges often serve as the first post-secondary experience for veterans who must acculturate from military culture to community college culture. This phenomenological study sought to offer a view of how student veterans persist in community college as opposed to the deficit view that suggests they are less capable than their civilian peers through a series of 15 semi-structured interviews. Other studies have presented the dominant narrative of student veterans as a vulnerable population, but few studies propose the narrative of student veterans as a marginalized population.

b. This study was designed to identify and utilize new and more reliable methods to investigate the postsecondary outcomes of student veterans. The study sought to better understand student veterans’ acculturation to community college. This study will contribute to the literature on student veterans generally, and on student veterans in community colleges specifically. Since student veterans often begin their postsecondary education journey at community colleges, we need to better understand the veteran experience in these institutions.

c. Due to COVID-19 restrictions on research, interviews were conducted virtually via Zoom.

3. Left Header – Research Questions

Narrative – This phenomenological study examined the lived experience of student veterans negotiating the acculturation process at community colleges. This study addressed one central research question: what are the lived experience of student veterans negotiating the acculturation process at community colleges, with specific focus on cultural shedding, cultural stress, and cultural learning. Three sub-questions are addressed within the central question: –

a. How do student veterans describe the aspects of their military culture that are no longer appropriate in community college culture?

b. Sub-Question # 2 – How do student veterans describe their own struggles in adapting to the community college culture?

c. Sub-Question #3 – How do student veterans describe the ways in which they successfully integrate military culture into community college culture?

4. Left Header – Methodology –

a. The researcher employed a phenomenological study to explore the lived experiences of student veterans negotiating the acculturation process at community colleges. This is a phenomenological study. Phenomenological studies seek to explore the participant’s experience of the phenomenon of study (Creswell, 2013; Marshall & Rossman, 2016). The goal of the phenomenological researcher is to collect data from research participants and identify common themes that describe the experiences (Creswell, 2013; Moustakas, 1994). In this regard, the researcher’s focus is on describing the phenomenon (Moustakas, 1994). The phenomenon that was studied is the experience of community college student veterans negotiating the community college acculturation process.

b. In this study, semi-structured interviews were used as the primary method of data collection. The phenomenon that was studied was the experience of community college student veterans negotiating the community college acculturation process (Creswell, 2013). The researcher will analyze data collected through the semi-structured interviews with student veterans who attended community college. Through data analysis, significant themes for horizontalization and the development of clusters of meaning will be used to describe the textural and structural descriptions to describe the crux of the phenomenon (Creswell, 2013). Conducting interviews with student veterans provided the researcher the opportunity to study the phenomenon of the experience of community college student veterans negotiating the community college acculturation process from their purview and gain insights into their lived experiences on this phenomenon.

c. Participants of this study included 15 veterans who had attended community college in the Mid-Atlantic region within the last five years and who completed at least one semester. For the purposes of this study, a veteran was defined as an individual who enlisted and completed at least one tour of duty (two years or more) in the United States armed forces and who had been discharged.

d. Data collection consisted of 15 semi-structured interviews conducted virtually via Zoom video recording due to COVID-19 restrictions on research. Individual interview sessions ranged from 45-90 minutes in length. Study participation concluded once the participant completed the interview requirement.

e. The data analysis process commenced at the conclusion of data collection. The researcher will study the transcripts a few times prior to the first cycle of coding. The researcher will then utilize In Vivo Coding as it is deemed an excellent method for a beginning qualitative researcher and as a way to highlight the participant’s voice in the coding process (Saldaña, 2016). Data from the semi-structured interviews was analyzed utilizing Shaw’s (2010) data analysis approach.

f. Chapter 4 presents the study findings, results and interpretations of the semi-structured interviews. This chapter is organized into five sections beginning with a description of participant demographics. The second section describes the central research question of acculturation, what are the lived experience of student veterans negotiating the acculturation process at community colleges, with specific focus on cultural shedding, cultural stress, and cultural learning. The third section describes findings associated with the first sub-question of, how do student veterans describe the aspects of their military culture that are no longer appropriate in community college culture? The fourth section describes the findings associated with the second sub-question of how do student veterans describe their own struggles in adapting to the community college culture. Finally, the last section describes findings associated with the third sub-question, of how do student veterans describe the ways in which they successfully integrate military culture into community college culture.

5. Center Header – Findings

a. Findings in the current study are based on student veteran accounts and perceptions of negotiating the acculturation process at community colleges, with specific focus on cultural shedding, cultural stress, and cultural learning. The data collection method for this research study was individual semi-structured interviews conducted via Zoom video conference by the researcher. Fifteen United States Military Veterans participated in individual interview sessions ranging from 45-90 minutes each. Transcription was provided via Zoom cloud recording option. The researcher studied the transcriptions a few times, listened to the recordings, and revised the typed documents for accuracy.

6. Left Header – Participants of this study included 15 student veterans. Five veterans identified as female, one veteran identified as asexual born female, and nine veterans identified as male. Participants age ranged from 27 (lowest) to 55 years (highest). All participants were enrolled in community college or had completed their community college goals. Participants’ highest level of completed education excluding military training ranged from 1 community college course to a JD and PHD each. Two of the female participants held the rank of officer during their military service. Two of the male participants previously held the senior enlisted positions during their military service. Seven participants identify as African-American. Seven participants identified as Caucasian. One participant identified as Mixed Race. All military branches were represented in the study: one Army veteran, six Navy veterans, four Marine veterans; three Air Force veterans, and one Coast Guard veteran.

a. Each interview began with a series of background questions. The first 3 questions related to general demographic background, military service background, and community college of experience. The second series of questions related to culture. The next series of questions related to acculturation. The final question was the wrap up question. The final question allowed the participants to share their perspectives outside of the previous protocol questions.

b. The researcher began the process of recruiting by contacting via email known veterans located in the researcher’s professional network who met the criteria for inclusion in this research study. The researcher included with the invitation a synopsis of the study. The researcher asked all potential interviewees to forward the information to their professional networks and to provide the researcher with referrals. Identification and invitation were open to participants who met the following criteria for inclusion in the study: student veterans who have attended community college in the Mid-Atlantic region within the last five years and who completed at least one semester. For the purposes of this study, a veteran is defined as an individual who enlisted and completed at least one tour of duty (two years or more) in the United States armed forces and who has been discharged. The researcher selected the first 15 individuals who volunteered to participate in an interview and who participated in an interview. All participants met the study criteria: discharged from the military. All participants met the study criteria: attended community college within the past 5 years. Two participants reported attending community college post-graduate school each reporting a Juris Doctorate and Doctor of Philosophy, respectively.

7. Indent Sub-Heading – Participant profiles. – The following participant profiles are based on the data from the background questions of the interview protocol and other information shared with the researcher during the interview.

a. P1 – P1 Profile

i. P1 is a forty-two-year-old male of African-American descent, who served in the United States Navy for 20 years. P1 is divorced and has a daughter. P1 joined the military to better his financial situation as he believed he had no other means of doing so. He described his military experience as nebulous.

ii. P1 decided to enroll in community college upon leaving his first duty station which was a ship at a port in Florida. He wanted to pursue higher education and saw community colleges as the best way to accomplish that. He originally started community college in Norfolk, Virginia, but because of military requirements and duties he did not finish. He completed several classes, about five over a two year period. He then transferred to Maryland, also his new military duty station. Upon being transferred to a new station by the military, he enrolled at the local community college locally in 2004. Pl has been enrolled in community college intermittently from 2004 until 2020.

iii. P1 studied fine art specifically drawing, painting including various forms of printmaking photography. He studied general courses such as English, general math courses, science courses and other general education courses.P1 has taken at least 30 classes. The self -reported total at the time of this is currently over 120 credit hours on the undergraduate level specifically at a community college.P1’s initial goal was as to receive his associates in fine arts at the local community college and also to complete the general education courses for pursuit of a baccalaureate degree in fine arts.

iv. P1 used his Post 9/11 GI Bill and I paid out of pocket for his school costs. He considers the veterans’ educational benefit as very important as he believes there would have been no other way for him to be able to afford college without the benefits.

b. P2 P2 Profile

i. P2 is a United States Navy veteran, age 39, female of Caucasian descent. She now lives in Baltimore, Maryland after serving one enlistment in the military. She is originally from the west coast. She is currently taking some time away from school and working as government contractor.

ii. P2 was in the United States Navy four years as Boatsman’s Mate Third Class (military enlisted rank). P2 was in the service pre 9/11. Her military enlistment ended one month before 9/11. She was once recalled to active military service after she separated from the Navy, but because her husband once serving active duty, military regulations required that the recall cancelled. She lived and went to high school in what she describes a very small town in Washington state. P2 decided to join because she is from a small rural peninsula town. P2 wanted to leave. She felt that she couldn’t afford to get out of there without the military, so without other options, she decided to join the Navy, so that she could travel. P2 joined the United States Navy in 1997 and the bulk of her military service time was on ships in San Diego and Bremerton, Washington. She did have one combat deployment to the Middle East.

iii. P2 was ready to leave two weeks into college. She had no idea what she was doing.: P2 described community college as confusing, after having worked in education for a few years after college. She described her community college experience as very confusing if you don’t know the language. P2 further described her community college experience as confusing if you don’t know if you don’t have a clear roadmap. She was losing her mind, two weeks and having no idea how to navigate the community college system walking aimlessly in confusion.

iv. P2: started community college at 35 years old. Her husband was still active duty, and it was towards the end of his career, and they were sent from the west coast, where they had been during both of their military careers, to Annapolis. P2 was having a hard time getting employment upon arrival to Annapolis. Her neighbor gave her the idea and she went and signed up four days before classes started. Although community college was not something on her radar, she knew she had to do something because she and her family had been at their new station for several months. P2 decided that she couldn’t sit around anymore, so I went down to the community college and met with an advisor and she signed up and got enrolled in classes. P2 admits to having a strong work ethic evidenced by having always worked since age 13. P2 describes her resume with work experience showing but I didn’t have any education showing: P2 noted that a lot of the things on her resume people would think it was a lie, because she had worked at a lot of jobs and she did really well at them, but got admits she got certain jobs by knowing people and therefore a reviewer would likely find her resume questionable based on high level work experience that would normally require a higher education credential.

v. P2 attended Mid-Atlantic Community College in Maryland and started the Fall semester of 2015 and graduated the Spring term of 2017. What did you study? P2 started her studies in human services. and then moved to the Transfer Studies major with degree concentrations in human services and psychology. How many classes did you take? P2 took a lot of classes because she had great English skills and tested straight into the highest English class, but as she admits, her math was abysmal. So I community college requirements placed her in basic math such as basic arithmetic, dividing and multiplying including any type of algebra. She says she wasn’t ready, so she had to take a lot of courses to graduate on time. P2 took at least 15 semester hours and sometimes 18 semester hours per term including the Summer term to make sure she finished her degree in two years.

vi. P2’s goal was/is to help people. She wanted to have a career where she made an impact helping people. Service to others anywhere is what drives P2 and makes her happy. Although she admits, she was just as happy working in the bagel shop part time but knew her body wouldn’t be able to do it forever. P2 goal in community college was to learn how to serve people well and bring them a different level of experience than other people would provide. Thus, she chose human services as a major.

vii. P2 separated from the Navy in 2001 and had never used her education benefits and lost the benefit. She had the Montgomery GI bill which had an end date to use the benefit. She didn’t have a chance to use them for school. P2 did acknowledge a benefit she had at the community college, which was the college’s Veterans Resource Center, which was attached to a program that provided student support. P2 gives the program credit for her college survival that included monetary benefits.

c. P3 P3 Profile

i. P3 is a United States Navy Veteran, retired after 23 years of service, age 48 of Caucasian descent born in Virginia and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. P3 currently lives in Maryland. He owns non-profit and for-profit businesses in the cannabis space.

ii. P3 joined the United States Navy in July 1990. He was in delayed entry program. The delayed entry program meant was he was actually enlisted and prepared for service before starting formal basic military training. After graduating high school, he went to basic military training in San Diego, CA at age 19. P3 had one combat deployment to the Desert Storm War. He reflected on the lesson of strong worth ethic during throughout his military service. P3: had a targeted military training school program, which meant after training you go to the fleet (mainstream Navy group) for two years. P3 was married at age 20 years old . He and his spouse lived in Mexico for a few years. His then wife became a United States citizen and joined the United Sates Navy. He was later stationed in Hawaii at Pearl Harbor. He spent three years on the Hawaiian Islands and never left the island. He described it as the best time of his life.

iii. Military has been in P3’s family since the Civil War. His grandfather was in the US Army Air Corp. His father was in the Marine Corps is a tank mechanic in Vietnam. His mother was in the Nursing Corps Post-Vietnam after he was born. His uncle was in the military and his grandfather, his great grandfather worked for the Air Army National Guard in Alabama contracted to pick up pilots who crashed in the sea during training exercises. He described military service as his destiny knowing from a young child that he was going in the military. That was his. dream. He wanted to follow the family system. P3 is the only family member who retired from the military Service.

iv. P3 was promoted to top enlisted ranks within 10 years at age 37. that was pretty, pretty good. After 10 years over with the same rank he went back to military station, San Diego. He and his spouse divorced based on the potential medical risk factors involved in her pregnancy. He always wanted children. From San Diego he went to Guam to the USS San Jose, a fueling ship and spent about a year on that ship. He decided he was going to stay and took orders to the communication station Guam. He moved into cryptology as a career specialty. He was the electronic key management systems manager. He managed a cryptology lab and supervised the communications suite of operations officers. After that, he came back to San Diego for aircraft carrier work on command carrier group seven. He was responsible for fleet communications program set up you. After that the Navy allowed him to move to mobile security as a specialty. He was able to go work in a desert. The time was post Iraqi Operation Freedom Enduring Freedom. This time doing mobile and mobile land and seaside security. He supervised the communications team. He loved wearing camouflage gear for two years. Next, he went to Singapore. He got to travel the world meet a lot of people.

v. Upon graduating high school , P3 was apathetic to higher education aspirations as he had none. Within a few years of beginning his military service, he realized that the military would finance his education. He felt it appropriate to take advantage of the benefit. He started college attending night classes. He received an Associates of Applied Science degree in Criminal Justice while stationed in Hawaii. Before leaving Hawaii to return to San Diego he enrolled again school and met a lot of different at a of couple different schools like American military University and a few other ones. He tried to University of Maryland Global College in an online format. He uses the GI Bill for current tuition. While on active military duty he used the Tuition Assistance (TA) to fund his college expenses. While on active duty he used part of his Montgomery GI Bill entitlement because he had exceeded TA program funding limits. He was able convert his Chapter 30 GI Bill Benefit to Chapter 33 Post 9/11 GI Bill before separating from active military service. After leaving the military, he converted the benefit for his daughter’s use towards her future education goals. He has been paying out-of-pocket for his post military higher education expenses. He entered community college. And found a lot of opportunities but didn’t have the time to commit because of his company and his nonprofit. He wasn’t able to continue based on his work obligations. He attended training in therapeutic alternatives of Maryland’s therapeutic agriculture program. The Veterans Administration paid him a stiped to attend the class to become an organic farmer. He did a concurrent training in Toronto. He actually graduated from that course and became a board member to the nonprofit’s that presented the training.

vi. P3 started Kingsborough community college by registering for an entrepreneurship course using the GI Bill. In retrospect he did not think it appropriate to have taken Accounting 101 as the first course based on it rigorous curriculum. He was enrolled in a certificate program. He described feeling lost because of the new vernacular found in the course. He dropped the course. Based on veteran entitlement regulations he had to pay the college back and had to pay the government back for the penalty involved when dropping a course. He still had the entrepreneur mind and he moved into the medical cannabis business space. He realized he needed to do better in the cannabis space. He wanted to be educated in cannabis. P3 read a banner on Mid-Atlantic Community College website and if they were offering the BPA 227 Entrepreneurship course on the cannabis industry in Maryland in 2018. He describes enrolling as a natural process because he liked it. He describes the instruction to be exceptional and the content as valuable based on the course goal was to support employment and business goals. For P3 it wasn’t about taking the course and walking away, it was about taking the course, networking, and cultivating and nurturing the intellectual capital inside of that group. He describes it as everybody working together for greater good for the collective and applies the attributes to the course’s professor. At Mid-Atlantic Community College, he attended primarily for the BPA227 class. He attended one and one-half years at Kingsborough community college.

vii. P3’s concern is community college after care for veterans. He pondered what will the community do with veterans after they finish their coursework and they have acquired the new knowledge all new skills, remembering that many have mental health issues, too. P3 likens his job like being a big brother, life coach, mentor to them and try to keep them engaged. P3 wants to support veterans re-entering the community and working. P3 describes employment goals as the catalyst for community college enrollment and the education funding . P3’s goal is to try to help veterans gain self-sufficiency through employment. P3’s believes he cannot succeed in college anymore because of cognitive dissonance as a result overthinking his ideas. He describes difficulties reading a textbook now. He coined a phrase for his dissonance as “wrestling brain syndrome”. He describes his inability to read a page on the textbook, so he has not attempted to go return to community college since BPA227. The goal of taking the class was just to get some education into the cannabis space in Maryland. He also wanted some credits. He wishes he had more time as he would love to continue to coursework at MACC in mechatronics. The department allowed him to use the college’s 3D printing machine if he needed. The faculty and staff would talk to him after class even at night. P3 believes that the government’s time and effort to make veterans who they are. He describes veterans as being at the top of their game in the government, education, as leaders in our community.

viii. P3 describes the importance of benefits as though he might be broken in some ways he thanks the government for everything that they’ve done to get him from being in the military and what he could offer in the military and to the VA, health care and the education programs that have been afforded and allowed to him before, during, after his active duty military service. P3 described the importance of the benefit as a need. He needs and needed those benefits. He wouldn’t be able to survive, otherwise. He didn’t have a retirement pension but is divinely thankful for that he a disability. He has no idea of who he would have become without the military but knows he wouldn’t be successful. He describes the benefits as the only thing that’s kept him. Having the cashflow available is important. He knows that if he was desperate, he could go back on the GI Bill and going to school, get a check that includes a housing allowance and be able to sustain life. He finally describes the benefits as critical.

d. P4 P4 Profile

i. P4 is United States Marine veteran, married to an active duty United States Army military servicemember with one child. He is male of Caucasian descent. He served as a combat engineer for seven years. He was shot in stomach and in the leg therefore, he was medically retired. He now attends MACC describes his life as terrible.

ii. P4 joined the military from the perspective of a 17 year old youth. As a 17 year old he wanted to join, as he describes, for dumb reasons. He wanted to go to war. He was influenced by military themed movies of his generation. He gave no attention to anything beyond his goal of going to war. He just thought it was a good thing to do. He wanted to join the U.S. Army, but his friend joined the Marines and he convinced him to join the Marines instead. He is glad he did because his wife is in the U.S. Army and he can chide her.

iii. P4 served from 2006 to 2013. He went to Iraq in 2008 2009 on to Afghanistan in 2011. Afghanistan in 2011 is when he got shot twice and then he was medically retired in 2013. As a combat engineer he dug up bombs hidden in the ground by enemy combatants.

iv. P4 went to community college because he was hurt and he was at home, and it was MACC where he attended. He describes as a very good community college, and it is within 10 miles from his house. He did not know what he wanted to do. He still does not know what he wants to do. He describes community college as a really good place to explore different avenues without having to fully commit

v. P4 explored many majors including psychology, sociology, marketing and journalism. He describes his exploration of majors as an opportunity to realize that he hates everything about a subject and then moves on to the next major.

vi. P4 has taken 30 to 40 classes in community college. He admitted that he switched around a lot. Although, he never described himself as a school person, continues taking multiple as an exploration and appreciation of a concept.

vii. P4’s goal was to find something that would make still being alive worth it. He was doing stand-up comedy for a while and he thought that was would support his goals of living. Stand-up comedy is why he took a lot of courses. He took especially marketing because he believes stand-up comedians are good at being inventive and creative, but believes they are not good at the business side. P4 thought, marketing, would be a good avenue to approach community college. He like that marketing involves a lot of psychology which he really thinks is interesting. He has no real goal. He does not know what he wants to do. He wants to be a Park Ranger, but he cannot pass a drug test. He describes veterans as not being as well overall as a group. He describes veterans as having the one track mind that is a creative mind. He thinks a lot of veterans are creative naturally. He believes what to do with that creative is a harder step. He described community college as a place to support that naturally creative process. He further described, in community college one can just do it all. He believes community colleges allows you to see the path instead of having somebody else find the path for you.

viii. P4 uses both Chapter 31, Vocational Rehabilitation and Chapter 33, Post 9/11. He describes his experience with the benefit as awful, specifically when utilizing Chapter 31, further describing the experience as one that he hated. At the time of this study he was using the GI Bill because he hated Chapter 31 requirements. He describes Chapter 33 Post 9/11 GI bill as more flexible. He blames part of his frustrations on the continuous turnover of Chapter 31 personnel and speculates that the turnover is based on a bureaucratic system of barriers. He uses the Chapter 33 understanding that it has a limit yet offers more flexibility when changing majors, meeting his needs to explore the community college coursework. He describes vocational rehab, Chapter 31 as placing a veteran with limitations and barriers from the outset of utilizing the benefit. He describes the vocational rehabilitation goal as one that would make him an accountant to work for the government accountability agency. He knows that career was not a good match for him, therefore he found great frustration Ch 31 benefits based on having to consistently explain why accounting was not a good match. He described feel degraded having to explain as to why he wanted to do something else different. He was then categorized as unemployable. which means that his education entitlement increased. He is hopeful that he will find a path that he has decided upon before his Chapter 33 benefits end. P4’s military veteran buddy is in medical school right now. He was in the Marines. He left the Marines, while in medical school because he just hated it. P4 believes that there is so much nonsense and bureaucracy attached to the benefits and personnel turnover that many veterans would rather just go about their way than deal with the system that is in place.

ix. P4 acknowledges that without the veteran benefits he would not have been able to pursue his dream. He believes that if it weren’t for those benefits, he never would have dropped out of high school to join the Marines. He never would have gone to college as it was never part of his plan. He was recovering from his combat injuries and decided to follow this dream that he had. He described school exploration as the veterans’ administration notifying him that they would pay him to go to school. He thought since he loves learning about new subjects so, his response to the invitation of community college was absolutely affirmative. He described the education benefits as huge. He appreciates the benefits. He describes the veterans’ administration system as a necessary bureaucracy with historical systemic issues. He admits that without the benefits he would never have been in school. He would never have learned a lot of things that he learned. He further admits that he would not have been able to pursue a passion of his own. Finally, he would be digging ditches somewhere right now, instead of just being the funniest guy in the whole world.

e. P5 P5 Profile

i. P5 0:30 I am a Navy veteran. I spent six years in the Navy P5 is African-American, female married, one child. Her husband is also in the Navy. P5 is a community college student. She is pursuing her human services degree. She would like to become a social worker. She really enjoys life. P5 described herself as very simple.

ii. P5 originally signed up for the Air Force but due to administrative error, her chosen specialty was given away to another recruit, so she I transferred all of her enlistment information from Air Force to Navy. She joined in 2013. and there was stationed in Hawaii. She spent all six years in Hawaii. She is thankful for that. She separated from the Navy as an E-5 (military non-commissioned officer rank). She described her experience in the Navy as having some good times and some bad times. She described her experience of being around mostly men, as the Navy is predominantly a male environment, while maintain a military career specialty, (Boatsman’s Mate) traditionally dominated by males. She admits that she I did have difficulties with assumptions that she couldn’t perform the same duties that males could perform. She also portrayed being a female and African American female amongst Caucasian white males as problematic. She described the experience as kind of hard to because she had to work harder for her skill qualifications, and to prove herself. She described having good senior enlisted members that supported her progress, thus she was able to excel at her specialty. She did have an injury, a back injury. After an arduous physical therapy process and multiple medications and procedures, she was medically discharged January of 2019.

iii. P5 joined the military because, at that time, she was a manager at chick fil a with good salary. She wanted something more. She didn’t want to be labeled as the lady that works at chik-fila for the rest of her life. Based on that reflection, she joined the military and go and see the world along with acquisition of the benefits such as the GI Bill. She described the experience as cool.

iv. P5 was stationed in Honolulu, Hawaii and described the station as nice with no complaints. She enjoyed beach. culture describing it as amazing. She would love to go back if she could. She joined the Navy out of Norfolk, Virginia.

v. P5 has attended community college a few times over the years. She found it difficult to balance community college attendance and active duty military requirements that cause her to stop attending and look forward to opportunities to start again. Her first two community colleges she described as great but did not complete a credential. At the time of this study, she was actively enrolled in MACC. She described her classes as great are her professors as even better. She did describe a problem with childcare. She was on the waitlist for an extended period of time coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic, the college closed the community college based daycare. Prior to that, she was on the waitlist for over nine months and she waited for other kids to be removed. Her only problem was childcare and trying to sure that she makes it her class on time and that her daughter is sick.

vi. P5 decided to enroll in community college because when she first arrived to Annapolis from Hawaii she researched different colleges and she just fell in love with the MACC Human Services program. To P5, the description of the program seemed great. When she reached out to someone, one of the advisors at the college, the advisor explained everything that they offered as a college. And as she described, she genuinely fell in love with MACC. She felt like it was exactly what she needed to do to pursue the career that she wanted to pursue. She also liked that there were multiple MACC campuses located around the area because she was indecisive as to whether she wanted to stay in the Annapolis area or wanted to move to another community, also near a MACC campus. She liked that MACC had multiple locations for students to attend. She also described MACC as a place that offers hybrid online courses that can accommodate her outside schedule.

vii. P5 started at Mid-Atlantic Community College in the Fall semester of 2019. She was actively attending at the time of this study. She studies human services. She will also be doing addictions counseling as a major. She figured with both, human services and addiction counseling will support expanded career opportunities in hopes of being able to transfer to a university in 2021

viii. P5 typically take s four classes each semester. At the time of this, at MACC she has taken 12 classes and starting Fall semester 2020, she is taking three classes to 15.

ix. P5’s goal is to finish up her associate degree in the springtime. P5 hoepse from there, she will be able to transfer to Bowie State the following Fall semester. She would like to enter their social work program because she described the program as a really good social work program. She noted that here future university is an Historically Black College/University (HBCU), which is something that she always wanted to attend. In the long term, she would love to be a social worker. As a veteran she feels like it’s her niche to work with veterans. She believes that she understands their families and kind of the crisis that they endure. She is also willing to work in other human service spaces such as with children or in geriatrics. She is open to everything because her personal philosophy is centered on the premise of life happens and you go with the flow based on where you are at the moment. Her dream would be to open up her own private practice. She believes that she has been divinely inspired to the level to have work with helping people. Based on her community college internship opportunities coupled with networking with professionals in private practice, she feels confident that is something that she can do in the future. She would like to have her doctorate in social work.

x. P5 used the Chapter 33, Post 911. She described the educational benefit that is based on number semester i.e. full-time v. part-time status offering you a book stipend per semester. She described it as a benefit that offers you money to go to school. She further described the entitlement as a benefit that is based on your geographic location equal to the pay rate of E-5 (enlisted service member pay grade), which is she described as good pay. She described living in Maryland as expensive to live out here. She admits the housing allowance doesn’t cover what you need.

xi. P5 described the benefit at very important because she didn’t have a job. Her transition plan was always to go to school right after her Navy discharge. It was never her plan to get a job. She feels fortunate that her plan is working. It was just always her plan is just to go right into school. P5’s described community college entrance as important for her to be able to receive the free education, benefits, as well as the housing allowance to take care of her family and take care of bills that she has to pay. She described being pleased that there’s a housing allowance that you get for attending school full time. She described the housing allowance as an incentive

f. P6 P6 Bio

i. P6. Is a United States Marine Veteran. He is a 43 year male of African-American descent. He is from South Carolina. He is a retired marine. P6: He is married to an active duty U.S. Navy servicemember. They are currently stationed in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. They have two sons and are grandparents.

ii. P6 joined the military in 1994 out of South Carolina. He went to Paris Island, South Caroline for basic military training and then after that he went to Jacksonville, North Carolina for Marine combat training before going to Indianapolis, Indiana for postal clerk training for his military career specialty, postal clerk. He moved into the fleet (mainstream Marine/Navy service) in 1995. His first duty station was 29 palms, California. After that he was stationed in Japan. He then volunteered for special duty as a Marine security guard. He attended the Marine security training school in Quantico, Virginia. His first duty station was Quito, Ecuador. After he was stationed in Amman, Jordan which was his second duty station after finishing the special tour of duty. He then went to Hawaii. He experienced several combat deployments to Kuwait to Iraq. His last deployment was with Marine Expeditionary Unit where he just floated around and waited for something to happen so that we can respond. He retired in 2014.

iii. P6 join the Marines because from a small town in South Carolina where there was not a lot going on. There were not a lot of jobs in the small town. Based on his description, if you wanted to get a good job one would need travel up to an hour to the good job. He saw the military as a way to have a good job, learn a trade, and get to see the world. He attributes his military experience for expanding his global perspective.

iv. P6 described his community college experience good. He described his professors as good easy to communicate, although there were different from him. He also felt lucky that he was able to find employment at the college’s student veteran center. He attributes the MACC student veteran center for helping to put a lot of the college systems in perspective so far as studying and managing his time. He describes all of his classes as pretty good. He is glad that I waited until he was in his 40s to go to school, rather than right out of college because he doesn’t think he would have done well or paid attention or focused enough to be successful.

v. P6 decided to enroll because he needed another trade other than the post office. He was tired of that career specialty. He did not want to go work in the post office again after doing it for 20 years in the military feeling it was a mundane career, therefore he wanted some different. He determined it in his mind that he was going to learn about computers. After retirement, his goal continued to defer a year at a time. In a moment he decided to become active in his retirement. Determined to commit to an activity alternative to mundane employment, he wanted to learn another trade in computers. was that, um, I remember a buddy of mine. A veteran buddy told him about his success with Chapter 31, Vocational Rehabilitation. The friend described the program as the Veterans Administration would pay him while he learned a new trade. P6 described his buddy’s Chapter31 outcome as now having a job and living happily ever since. After retirement he did the Chapter 31 Vocational Rehabilitation application. P6 sought the same outcome as his buddy’s. P6 started at MACC in the January of 2016 and he graduated a May 28, 2018 with a degree in computer network management.

vi. P6 attended in all school semester, Fall, Spring and Summer as a full-time student for a total of six semesters over a two year period. He took 23 classes with the goal of completing his degree. He also had planned on getting a job but us his spouse received military orders to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. His college graduation was the day he and his spouse started their change of station. He never got a chance to seek employment. He did not get an opportunity to test his theory of moving higher in society with his degree. He did declare that his main goal was to graduate. He now has a goal of working on industry specific certifications.

vii. P6 used the vocational rehab benefit, Chapter 31. He also had the Chapter 33, Post 9/11 benefit, but the benefit was used by one of his sons. Chapter 31 was his only recourse.

viii. P6 described the benefits as very important. He likely would have to had paid a few thousand dollars if not more to obtain his degree. He and his wife have benefits which he describes as pretty good. He appreciated the tuition and a monthly stipend (not BAH). He liked not having to worry about paying bills which made it acceptable to focus on school while helping his family. He found that he could balance life better by having a stipend to ease the pressure of adulting.

g. P7 P7 Profile

i. P7 is United States Navy veteran, age 32, male of Caucasian descent from Dallas, Texas. P7 went to Job Corps where he received his GED and joined the Navy. After the Navy he attended community college. He then went on to four year university and has graduated. He is now a veteran’s career counselor for a state veterans commission.

ii. P7 attended Navy training school for aviation specialist. He served in that specialty for three years. He then went to another Navy school to train as a medical specialist. He went to that school and served three more years. He served over 6 years. He trained in Chicago, Illinois

iii. He decided to join because he had a child. He had dropped out of high school. He did not have a high school education beyond 10th grade, I believe. Since he had a daughter coming and he was a young parent, he figured that joining the military was his best option. At the point of joining he was homeless living in El Paso. He was described El Paso and Dallas many miles apart. He described being virtually in another state, young, with a family to care for. He saw the military as the best option was where I decided to go the Air Force or the Navy.

iv. P7 started his military service in 2017. at Naval Air Station, Florida near Jacksonville, Florida. He returned to Jacksonville, but his new location was the naval hospital after secondary training for hospital medic. He also was stationed in Pensacola, Florida a year.

v. P7 describes his community college experience as interesting. He knew that he needed to get back into school, into learning environment. He was older with military experience. The school was in a different geographical area that he was accustomed. He described the people as different. He had to adjust to community college and acclimate to his surroundings. He had to adjust his speech among other things. He describes community college as good. He was able to experience working in the state house as a legislative inter because of his community college internship. He was an honor student as well. He describes his community college experience as doing pretty good. He involved himself in the political space by serving as intern on the Ways and Means Committee of the state legislature. He describes his internship as a great experience. He describes his overall experience of coming to college as good. He concedes that he had help along his community college journey. He met new people that helped in the military aspect. He also describes that experience as great. He describes his community college experience as a great benefit to himself, but the four year, not so much. He enjoyed his community college experience. He was older coming from the military. He described his experiences at the community college as a contrast to his prior space, including the way military veterans address situations versus community college members. He described a veteran’s mannerisms as different from that of a community college student’s mannerisms. He described how military veterans interact with each other he found was different. He described attempts to fit in with the 18 year old community college student that were coming out of high school or someone that may be in there 18 to 20 year old range as difficult. He described that veterans don’t have the same vernacular as other community college students. He described the difference in the way veterans act, move, and maneuver. P7 also described his perception the contrasting thought processes between a student veteran and 18 year old community college student.

vi. P7 enrolled in community college to educate himself. He also felt that a degree would support his forward advancement in society. He also supposed that it was a source of pride for him. Remembering he was a dropout from high school. Him being educated was something that he wanted to fulfill likened to an internal goal He always described his desire to increase his earning potential. He also decided to enroll in community college to increase my earning potential and to avoid any barrier that he could encounter in the future based on lack of education. Citing that he did not have education, enrolling in community college was a big factor for him and to be an example to his daughter. He wanted her to actually see someone go through the process of college and do it so that she has an example.

vii. P7 attended community college after he got out of the military in 2013. He started in 2013 and continued through 2016 . He attended a community college other than Mid-Atlantic, he took a year off then he enrolled at MACC in Maryland. MACC is where he received his legislative internship at the state house. One of the community college programs in which he participated, brokered the internship opportunity. He took that opportunity to learn about government and to raise his awareness of the political space.

viii. P7 received a degree in Transfer Studies so he could enroll at a university which was his community college goal. He usually took five or six courses per semester as a normal schedule. He took course in all semesters completing 60 credits upon transfer.

ix. P7’s short term goal was to gain enough credits to be able to transfer. He also wanted an acceptable grade point average to gain admission into a respectable or decent college. His long term goal was to have the grades that could get him where I needed to be in life. P7’s ultimate education goal was to get the bachelor’s degree with the end goal to become a judge. He hopes that one day that his end goal is still possible. He is considering pursuing his master’s degree in political science with the end goal to gain a juris doctorate.

x. P7 used my Chapter 33 Post/911 benefit. He also used federal financial aid, which is not a Veterans benefit but is for general for students.

xi. P7 believes that he would not have been able to get to college without the benefits. That is one of the reasons why he went to the military. He needed the benefits to obtain what he needed to attain.

h. P8 P8 Profile

i. P8 is a United States Marine Corps veteran, age 26, of African America descent from Maryland.

ii. P8 described his military experience as a good experience. He got to meet a lot of good people from the Marine Corps that he is still friends with today. He describes those friendships as always great. P8 describes his military experience as a typical Marine Corps experience. He got to go to Afghanistan. He admits a good majority of the people in the Marine Corps, especially get to got to war. Outside of going to Afghanistan, he described the military as a good experience. He described Afghanistan as a place that one should not want to go, perhaps gaining that revelation after arrival.

iii. P8 joined the Marine Corps because he did not really know what he wanted to do after high school. He knew he did not want to go to college immediately. He did not really like school. He still doesn’t like school. To P8, the Marine Corps seemed like the best option. He reflected that is was a good way for him to see and explore and be on his own and be independent and then figure out, ultimately what his ultimate plan was to do. He used his joining the military to take advantage of the opportunity that they gave him to do that figure out his plan. P8 served in San Diego and in Afghanistan. His military specialty was he was Armored Tank Crewman.

iv. P8 describes his community college experience as pretty good. He described his professors as all pretty good teachers, especially his first time around. When he when he first attended to community college, he had an English teacher, he described as really, really cool. She really helped him out a lot in understanding community college and how all of the college processes work. The dedicated faculty member made it an easy transition for him and gave him a good way to better understand community college expectations of him including how to produce good work and other college level building blocks. And he thinks that he ultimately needed to excel it so had a really good experience, especially having the supportive faculty member present in first experience. He also likened community college to high school with more work.

v. P8 enrolled because he felt that now that he understood what direction he wanted his life to go, he committed himself to make his life to go in that chosen direction. He described community college as the appropriate first step to moving one’s life in your chosen direction. He described himself as having been brave enough to enroll yet so far removed from the school system for such a long period of time in a traditional perspective, he chose community college to make sure that when he transferred to a four year institution that he was fully prepared to do so. While attending community college he got education and it also prepared him for to be able to complete the last two years toward his baccalaureate at a 4 year institution. At the time of this study, P8 is currently enrolled in his 3rd year at a 4 year university towards bachelor’s degree

vi. P8 attended Mid-Atlantic CC in 2017 in order to improve his grade point average to improve his transfer opportunities. He started winter semester because. He studied computer Science and video game development at Mid-Atlantic CC.

vii. P8 was full time. He describes staying full time as important, just for benefit purposes because if you’re under full time, then the amount of benefits that you get compensated is lower with the GI Bill.

viii. P8’s short term goal is to graduate from the 4 year university. His long term goals include completing industry certifications soon. Once he completes his 4 year degree and industry certifications, he hopes to move departments at his current employer. He hopes to move to the engineering department or the quality assurance department next year. He believes industry certifications can be just as good as having a degree in a subject based on the multiple courses one must take to obtain the industry certification. His goal is to continuously improve his chances of obtaining gainful employment with his current employer and an outside employer if required. He finally reflects, the education helps his resume look better overall.

ix. P8 used the Post 9/11 GI Bill. He expressed appreciation for the housing allowance that accompanies the Post 9/11 GI Bill. P8 described the benefit as extremely important. He described the benefit as one of the biggest incentives that the military has to offer to support military recruitment. He believes that without his benefits, he doesn’t know how stifled his success would have been. moment, veteran benefits are valuable to him and to know that you have them just as important.

i. P9 Profile

i. P9 is a United States Coast Guard veteran, age 58 of multiracial descent. She was a Legal Officer. She did legal work and project management type work in the Coast Guard.

ii. She didn’t have a specific reason as t why she joined the military. Her dad served 20 years in the Navy. Her brother served 20 years and Air Force. Her other brother joined the US Army and her other brother joined the Marines. She describes joining the military as completing the circle. Her family represents all of the military branches.

iii. P9 wanted to join the Air Force, but did not meet the age requirement, therefore she joined the Coast Guard. She liked the blue uniform and she liked the fact that their missions being mostly coastal and US oriented versus having to go to Iraq or another combat zone. Her primary military duty was legal work. She helped people with their legal issues, whether it was wills or assisting with divorce procedures. During her service she was part of a campaign that raised $700,000 over three months for charity. The majority of her military career was Washington, DC with some time in San Diego, California and North Chicago, Illinois.

iv. P9 decided to enroll because she wanted to have something to do. She thought that taking more classes would help keep her brain sharp. Should also hope that community college would give her an opportunity to get out of the house and meet some more people.

v. P9 is enrolled for the Fall semester 2020 and has attended MACC since 2018.: Most of the classes were on campus but she also took some online classes at MACC. She has taken different types of classes and admits that she kept changing her major. She is enrolled in art classes. She is taking drawing and painting in color. She also took some classes in business communication and plans to take courses in event planning and hospitality.

vi. P9 takes three to four classes each semester. She admits that she doesn’t have a goal beyond taking classes. She had considered taking courses to be a military advocate. MACC has a counseling major, but she has decided not to do that as it may become overwhelming.

vii. P9 used her GI bill to pay for her tuition and for the housing allowance. She was using the Chapter 30 Montgomery GI bill and then she converted it to the Chapter 33, Post 9/11.

j. P10 Profile

i. P10 is a United States Navy Veteran, age 43, male, African-American descent. P10 is from North Carolina, USA. Although P10 was in the Navy, he reenlisted is now in the Army Reserve. He attends Mid-Atlantic Community College.

ii. P10 was a Navy Petty Officer (Enlisted Rank) from 1996 to 2010. He rejoined the service in 2011 in the Army Reserve. From there he separated again from the military. He was also a merchant marine for five years and then I rejoined The reserves in 2017.

iii. P10 served in Norfolk, Virginia; Baltimore, Maryland; and sailed overseas. He served on a ship that allowed him to travel to ports including, Abu Dhabi, Greece, Spain, Egypt, Israel and one more named ABC also known as Allen’s Aruba Carousel, Bermuda, and finally, Puerto Rico.

iv. P10 decided to enroll as opposed to seeking employment as his preference was to attend school to work or go to school. His preference was to attend school which was more of a value to self from his perspective. P10 described community college as an opportunity to work with his mind, instead of his hands. He likened to that of a managerial position versus working a position where you constantly use your hands or your body to work because he has done that many times in the military and had enough.

v. P10 started at Mid-Atlantic Community College in 2017. He attended all three campuses of MACC. P10 initially studied forensic studies then changed his major to public health. He expressed gratitude for the community college military counselor for advice on the change of major. He had also planned to study dentistry. He later made the decision to study public health, which he described as a good fit. He wanted to be in the medical field, and the public health major supported said goal.

vi. P10 has taken like 20 classes at the time of this study, over 70 credits. P10’s short term goal is to accomplish his associate degree which is one class away. P10’s long term goal is to obtain his doctorate in public health. He describes his doctoral goal as realistic short-term goal with long-term benefits. P10’s goal is to find a university that is suitable that will cater to his career goals in the field of public health. He also plans to pursue a degree outside the field of public health. He believes pursuing a degree outside of public health will help him, although public health his ultimate goal. His goal is to be a well-rounded person and marketable in the event that a public health job is not available upon his graduation, he is hopeful that he can get a job doing the other job specific to his other non-public health degree.

vii. P10 used the Post 9/11 GI Bill which gave him enough to go to school and a housing allowance which made it suitable for him to go to school and not have to worry about employment. P10 described the benefit as very important because if a veteran does not have those benefits in place, you’re not able to go to school full time and concentrate because of working a job. P10 describes working and going to school as difficult. He believes that in many cases work hinders a veteran’s ability to go to school. When he first started community college, he was working and going to school and it he described being exhausted. He worked from 12 at night to like six in the morning and then went home, prepared for school, and then went to school. He was I was tired in the class. He describes having lack of concentration and believes therefore he did not receive the full benefit of the course. Because of using the benefit while attending school and not working, he believes the difference now is being more focused an able to learn material and focus on material and he is able to excel.

k. P11 Profile

i. P11 is a United States Air Force veteran, age 48 of Caucasian descent, married, born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. P11 attended Louisiana State University and then transferred to Louisiana Tech. She entered the Air Force as an officer served about four years until she had all the sexual harassment that she cared to tolerate. P11 specialized in actuarial science worked as a military specialty. P11 lived in Nebraska then moved to Louisiana for a few years and then moved to Maryland in 1999. She returned to university to complete her doctorate in math education. P11 has been teaching at community colleges full time since about 2003 except for the time out during her doctorate.

ii. P11: I was stationed at I was stationed at Kiesler AFB, MS twice. Initially for training that lasted three months. She then I went to her permanent duty station at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska . Her training included nine months for communications electronics school. She describes her duty station a underground facility. Her duties included working with ARPANET, a precursor to the internet. She also had duties in finance and procurement for Strategic Air Command. Which is now Strat Com, Strategic Air Command.

iii. P11 decided to join the military because her family life was competitive. I like rules and and I liked math. She has most of her degrees in because math has rules and that is what she liked about the Air Force. She was in Civil Air Patrol when she was in high school. She joined Air Force ROTC through college. She was attracted to fact that Air Force ROTC had rules and regulations for everybody follow. The rules and regulations are what appealed to her with on joining the military. She was always interested in flying. She took private pilot lessons when she was a teenager. She admits that she never did get her pilots license because someone else was paying for the lessons. She felt the cost was too high to allow her donor to pay for private lessons, so she didn’t continue.

iv. P11 started her military service immediately after college graduation in May, 1984. She served through 1988. Part of her duty station included Kiesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi, for the trainings and Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska for her permanent duty station. She was stationed at Strategic Air Command (SAC) headquarters at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska in three different offices. The first office she described as the underground likened to a bank vault. She would go to work in the dark, and she would come out in the dark during the winter in Nebraska. She described it as interesting as she is a South Louisiana girl who had not experience such. P11 expressed appreciation for having military rules and regulations in one location to learned because you want to learn. She is proud of that she supported her subordinate personnel to success. She is remains in contact with fellow servicemembers.

v. 3. Please tell me about your community college experience. P11: became involved in community college based on the advice of her husband. She applied to teach math Metropolitan Community College in Omaha, Nebraska. They were looking for an adjunct math instructor. She didn’t know what adjunct meant so she pulled out her dictionary and looked it up. She was hired and surprised that she thoroughly enjoyed teaching courses. She created a teaching style based on her experiences with her professors from her college experience. She taught for a few years there and a couple other colleges in the area. She has been a teacher since. She like the community college mission. She likes the open admission policy. She describes the community college as place where people can: Make changes to their life, come back from whatever they decided, to go do. Her example was likened to when women decide to start their families and then come back to school. She likes that people feel like they have holes in their knowledge can come back and just take a class here or there.: She likes the variety of students get in the classes. She is inspired when she walks into a classroom and sees older students. She describes the experience as thrilling.

vi. P11 enrolled to take a course in emerging entrepreneurship opportunities in Maryland medical cannabis in 2019, a new industry. She plans to retire from the college soon. She also plans to have an active retirement. It’s is the only credit course she has taken at community college although she has taken several other noncredit courses through the community college as well.

vii. P11 studied life coaching, yoga, building your coaching business, and art classes to help her purge technical parts of her thinking. She described her Drawing course as a lot of fun. She has also taken cooking courses and describes those courses as fun

viii. P11 took 12 courses credit/non-credit courses outside of her community college professional development course. She is starting sign language in the next semester.

ix. P11 has a PhD. She does not want another degree. She plans to pursue more certifications and I present and participate in workshops. P11 is working on a health coach certification because the coaching course she took at the community college opened area of knowledge in coaching for her what she believes could be a future career field. She is interested in coaching with a health focus inclusive of nutrition. She is taking a course self-paid outside of the community college. The community college offered the course but canceled based on low-enrollment which she described as disappointing.

x. P11 When she was in active duty military service, she did use Chapter 30 educational entitlement from 1989. She describes it as a much different benefit than the Post 9/11 GI Bill. She did use some of those benefits to take some graduate level courses before she officially started in her master’s program When she separated from the military, she did take a class through the Metropolitan Community College with the basics for Visual Basic programming.

xi. P11 concedes that the benefits are not too important to her because she was financially was able to handle her education. She does not want to see those benefits go away. As far as benefits she wasn’t very much aware of what benefits existed for her upon separation from the military. She described herself as naive enough or not inquisitive enough and expected she would be told if she needed to know. During her military she didn’t have the internet to explore benefits.

xii. P11 believes that just because the veteran benefit didn’t benefit her or she didn’t use them as much, she doesn’t want to see the benefits go away where the government inappropriately describes the benefit as wasteful based on lack of use. She doesn’t want to see the benefit go away for other military veterans. She believes that is one of the benefits of going joining the military, but because of what you could do such as go to a war zone. She also described the value of servicemember who actively serve in country. She described different military specialties here in the States where you could get killed with practice flight, as she reflected on a recent military flight accident in San Diego, CA.

l. P12 Profile

i. P12 is a United States Navy veteran, age 32, female of African-American descent. She is a full time student at the University of Maryland. She currently works for the US Department of Defense. She is from Los Angeles, California.

ii. She served four years in the Navy and went on a 10 month combat deployment. Her military specialty included surface to surface warfare, firefighter, and logistics specialist on a destroyer Navy ship. She advanced to E-5 (enlisted military rank) within three years and separated from the Navy in 2016 to pursue a college degree in public health.

iii. P12 was going to join the Air Force, a couple of years prior to joining the Navy because wanted to be in a military branch where she would not be in dirt. That is what she cared about, not being in the dirt. While on the Air Force’s delayed entry program she decided not to join the Air Force after rethinking what she described as a hasty decision. She took to review the other military branches to see what they offered. She described her visit to the Army as skeptical based on their high promises of generosity. She visited the Marine Corps recruiter because her dad was a Marine. She thought the Marines she would learn how to for real fight. She reflected on a pivotal moment that happened while she contemplated joining the Navy that she describes as the moment that sold her on joining the Navy. She was robbed on a city bus. She didn’t have a car at the time and used public transportation to travel. She was robbed and lived in Inglewood, and a guy came up to her, snatched her phone and left her in disbelief that a person would like burst her personal bubble and the robber ran out the back of the bus. P12 reflected on her interpretation of the robber’s terrified her to accelerating her entry into the United States Navy. She knew in the Navy that there was no dirt involved, she could see the world, she was looking to restart. She was 25 when she joined. She wanted a solid foundation. She wanted to rebuild her finances and thought why not serve your country for while.

iv. P12 joined the US Navy 2012. She was stationed in San Diego. She spent all four years on the ship as logistics specialist. She had one combat deployment that was two months long in the Persian Gulf. She made it through, as she described, what was quite the experience and made it back safely realizing that 10 months on small ship wasn’t for her. She doesn’t want to do that again. She separated with an honorable discharge and went right to community college in Spring 2017 after leaving the military in the previous summer. She also traveled to Hawaii, Singapore, Thailand, Abu Dhabi, UAE Dubai, UAE Oman, Bahrain, Indonesia, Hawaii. She described it as a good time. She describes her favorite destination as UAE, because she had never been there. She had never been to any of these other destinations outside of Hawaii. She had only seen the destinations on television and movies about Saudi Arabia and how grand, everything is and clean. She described the daily call to prayer in the UAE heard throughout the UAE community and the beauty of the UAE architecture.

v. P12 started community college in Santa Monica, California at Santa Monica Community College. She admitted that she was very ill prepared. She had heard about applying for financial aid, but she did not follow through applying for financial aid. Not really. I kind of just went to school. She didn’t have her books. She attended her English class three weeks before purchasing her English textbook. She described the experience as a hot mess. She admitted she wasn’t well prepared. She believes her grades suffered because of that poor start. She did a winter session of Japanese which she described as a terrible idea. She didn’t have a lot of guidance, either. She didn’t sit down with anyone to discuss college and she didn’t know that was an option. She thought since she had graduated high school that the natural process would be to start college. She arrived at the community college with no guidance on choosing courses. She took the placement exam and started. She believes that it really helps to have somebody who’s attended community college to give you the guidance or a trusted faculty member or whatever role they serve as advisor. She believes you need to get guidance to be successful in community college. She traveled to community college using public bus which she described as terrible. She decided to work full time. In 2008 she went back to college to take a Spanish class. She wanted to step back into community college slowly to get the rhythm going to community college, including turning in assignments, scheduling, and a return to being structured. She thought she would try one class and then move on from there. She described her Spanish course as successful and fun. She described being back in class as a nice experience in Fall 2007. She was laid off from her job because of the 2008 recession. She was only able to complete that semester. She wasn’t able to continue forward with courses in spring 2008 as it was an economic recession. She was out of work and couldn’t afford to do a Spring semester. After separating from the Navy in 2016 she returned to community college for the third time at Mid-Atlantic Community College in Maryland. She arrived at MACC and she was ready to get started. She had her paperwork. She was excited. She had done her research and was able to get under way. Her husband recommended community college believing that she might encounter a slower pace at the community college versus a 4 year institution. She agreed with her husband. She was able to get a lot of information via email concerning what she needed to do as a student veteran attending with the GI Bill from the community college’s VA Certifying Official who gave her the layout of the process. She went to MACC. She had her GI Bill certification sheet ready to start for the semester. She believes that the starting processing was very streamlined for her because of the research other the steps that she had taken in preparation of her arrival to MACC. She did meet with a general academic advisor.

vi. P12 decided to enroll because she was ready to continue and follow through with her degree. She described knowing how important the degree is when it comes to socioeconomics and that is something she wanted since she was in high school. She now attends her dream university. She planned for Mid-Atlantic Community College to help me her transfer to the university because of transfer articulation agreement with the university that allowed a, as she described, seamless transfer. She described the decision to enroll as a no brainer. She enjoyed the customer service and the resources that were available to her which eased the potential frustrations of the process. She became reacclimated to the classroom and she was able to successfully manage working part time managing her schedule well by working part time and going to school full time. She was able to build a skill set of being able to better manage her time.

vii. b. Where and when did you attend? 12 0:27:49.890-00:27:58.440 P12Yes. So I started at Santa Monica Community College. Then I went on to Cerritos community college where I studied I took one class Spanish and then years later spring 17 I enrolled into Toronto Community College. So to quote to community colleges in California and: Three dose or SMC Community College was 2005 to 2006 took a break went worked full time then went back to school to Cerritos Community College in fall 2008: Unfortunate. I was laid off and couldn’t continue with school due to the recession joined the Navy served my time separated from the Navy and fall 2016 and moved to Maryland and then registered and enrolled in at Mid-Atlantic Community College Spring 2017.

viii. P12 majored in Public Health but not immediately. Radiology was her first major. She looked into it and she knew she wanted to be in healthcare and thought radiology seemed like a good idea as it sounded like a good idea. To P12 , the radiology major complete didn’t seem like it would take too long which she described as appealing. She later sat down with an advisor, a military veteran advisor and had more of a conversation and he challenged her to academic decisions. He asked her if she was sure that radiology was the major you truly wanted to do. She admits that she had never been asked why she made the decisions that she made. The military veteran advisor wanted to ensure that her decision was a thoughtfully made decision.

ix. P12 took 30 classes. She wanted to ensure that She took classes that we’re going to satisfy the credits for the associate. She didn’t want to take any courses that did not support her transfer goal. She took 17 credits. There was another semester she took 20 credits , something she doesn’t recommend. She wanted to finish quickly because of her limit of 36 months of benefits. She was trying to manage the timeframes and get the most out of her benefits. Her goal was to get to the degree with as little time as possible, quickly, and efficiently.

x. P12 used the Post 9/11 GI Bill. P12 described the benefit as extremely. It was 85% of the reason why she joined the Navy. She knew that education is a meal ticket in the United States. She knows that she needs education. She believes that she has to have a degree if you she is to secure a respectable job or if you really want to be taken seriously in this day and time. Referencing the time of this study, the COVID-19 pandemic era, she describes a college degree as barely having the ability to support minimum wage job acquisition although you have gone through the college process and you have demonstrated persistence. She described having displayed the ability to communicate effectively that one can manage time. She described the demonstrable ability to work in a diverse team and all that good attributes demonstrated through one’s college experience, however, she perceived the outcome to value at $15 an hour. The benefit allowed her to rebuild beyond the scope of $15 an hour.

m. P13

i. P13 is a United States Air Force veteran, age 38 year old female of Caucasian descent. P13 is originally of Pennsylvania. She come from a two parent home with one older sibling who is male and is two years older than she. P13 came from a homeschool background. She was in a formal high school for three years before she joined the Air Force. She went to the Air Force directly out of high school. After the Air Force, she went right into being a mother to her 17 year old daughter. P13 identifies as asexual, which means that she was assigned female at birth, identifies as female, and that she is part of the LGBT community, and that she is asexual.

ii. P13 joined the military in December after her high school graduation. She attended basic training at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. She helped several other people graduate from basic training as well . Some the recruits had challenges completing the training timelines, so she ran the exercises with those recruits to help them meet their times, and especially those who needed the times graduate. She didn’t stay longer in basic training, but she redid some of the tests, a couple of times to help some other people.

iii. P13 joined the Air Force because I wanted to serve her country. She wanted to help her country. She wanted to get out of Pennsylvania, and she wanted to travel and the Air Force, in her thinking, could meet those goals. She likened it to being a veteran in a lot of ways. She believes that she was able to do a lot of things that she would not have been able to do if she had chosen a different path.

iv. P13 progressed to Fort Huachuca in Arizona. She went to Arizona for a joint service tech school. From Fort Huachuca she went to Fort Jackson, South Carolina, another joint service tech school. From there she progressed to her first permanent duty station, which was an Air Force Base in South Korea serving for one year. From Korea she went to an Air Force Base in the United Kingdom. There she developed severe medical conditions after she gave birth to her daughter. She was discharged on a hardship separation (special discharge type)

v. 3. Please tell me about your community college experience. P13 described that she got her first factually based information she had ever gotten from the military was from veterans at the community college. Many of the community college veterans felt that she had been misinformed. She described meeting other veterans at the community college who too has received misinformation during their separation from active duty military service that was detrimental to their successful transition from the military.

vi. P13 decided to enroll in 2017 because her daughter starting to get old enough that she was looking into college for her daughter’s college future. P13 knew that her GI Bill was still in place as a benefit, as she had contributed to the benefit during basic training. She had heard about how congress had expanded the GI Bill to new the Post 9/11 GI Bill. She had been told by some veterans that transferred their GI bill to their kids. She still didn’t know what she wanted to do, so she figured she would pass it on to her daughter as she saw no point in wasting the benefit. She then found that GI Bill transfer option must be exercised before exiting military service. She thought what she would do now over 13 years later. She then you found out that there is a delimitating date to mean that her benefit had an expiration date. She had two years remaining to utilize her GI Bill. The revelation of two years worked for her because community college is two years. P13 described it as luck that can pull failure from the jaws of victory. That is how she how she started her college career at Mid-Atlantic Community College in the Fall semester 2017.

vii. P13 studied I two majors. She graduated with a: Transfer Studies degree and a fine arts degree. She graduated twice because of the school regulations. She graduated in Fall of 2018 and then in Spring of 2020. She received two emails saying that she has graduated from Mid-Atlantic Community College and I’ve got two degrees and two separate degrees but no graduation because of this study was conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic era.

viii. P13 enrolled full time which was 12 semester hours. She was full time for the first two semesters, but her disabilities are stress based and by the time she started her third semester she was starting to hit some heavier duty classes and I couldn’t attend full time anymore. She returned to community college attending three quarters time which was nine semester hours. She did attend couple of Summer classes to try to get extra credits to make up for her part time attendance during the normal semesters. She finished, but does admit she had change pace on occasion, but she always managed to pull it back up enough to graduate on time. She graduated with 56 semester hours.

ix. P13’s short term goal was to use her benefit because when she started her research, she was trying to find a way to make ends meet at home. When she was told that she could get paid to go to school, it was an incentive. Because of her disabilities, since separating from the military, having a job and trying to hold a job has been very difficult for her. Going to school while getting paid, while it’s been difficult has been sustainable for her and her family. Community college sounded like something she could achieve. Noting she still had a two year timeframe before the benefit end date, although at the time of this study the GI Bill has been expanded to remove GI Bill end dates for certain veterans. She thought she might as well give community college her best effort. P13 decided that she would just try to continue to attend school and as long as she could afford to keep going to school. That’s what she determined in her mind to accomplish. When P3 started community college she was only trying to make ends meet. In her second semester she knew what she wanted to achieve. She wasn’t just doing it to try to pay her bills anymore. She wanted to get her degree. She wanted to feel like she had actually achieved something. P13 wanted her Transfer Studies degree most because while she still wasn’t sure what she wanted; she knew that she wanted her four year degree. She knew that she wanted to have a four year degree so that she could feel like she had a chance at getting a real job. Community college had opportunities that she didn’t have open to her when she started process. She likened it to the opportunities that she thought the Air Force had promised were finally be available to her. By starting MACC, she felt she was finally getting her opportunity at what everything she had been promised by signing on the dotted line meaning the contract for military service. She felt like he was finally getting a chance to recoup all of the benefits that she thought were lost. She was able to get the “why” she signed up for the Air Force by attending community college.

x. P13 used chapter 33 which is the post 911 GI Bill, she used Chapter 33 as much as she was allowed. She ended up having 21 months of entitlement left on the benefit at the time of delimiting date. She believed she used 9-10 months. but was not sure, but knows that she had 21 months left. She is using Chapter 31 vocational rehab to go for her four year degree and potentially her master’s degree.

xi. P13 found it difficult to describe how badly I needed the benefits. She described the benefit as more than just monetary. The benefits gave me her a feeling of purpose of being able to be more than her disabilities. She described the euphoria of regaining the ability to pursue a goal in her life again. She described the feeling of positive well-being, more than how she felt at her separation from the military. When she separated from the military, she felt like she was, as she described, at the bottom of the barrel understood to mean a low point in her life. She believes that there are a lot of people that separate from military that feel that way because they have been through combat or they have been through terrible things. She has seen terrible things. She believes that there are some people that enter the military, having already seen, bad things. She admits that she was one of those people. She thought the military was her ticket for a new life. She believes the military took away her opportunity get her mental health together and believes it affected her for the next 20 years, thus she describes having the education benefits is education benefits are huge. The benefits led her to the people who would point her in the right direction to getting the help that she needed to connect her with veteran resource networks that helped her start putting her life back together 20 years.

n. P14 Profile

i. P14 is a United States Army Veteran, age 30, Caucasian descent. P14 served nine months in Afghanistan in 2013 as a Cavalry scout combat arms. P14 admits that he came back with a few more challenges than he left with. At the time of this study, he was enrolled in his first university and his fourth college total.

ii. P14 joined for the military for couple of different reasons. One, where he lived didn’t have great employment opportunities. He joined the reserves before he went to active duty because he wasn’t, as he described, prepared to commit fully to the military. Once he was in the military he felt that it was more appropriate for him to commit fully as opposed to having the opportunity pass and run away. P14 wasn’t in the best family and home situation and a lot of his decision matrix was to try to get away from it. He went into the reserves because he wasn’t prepared for what active duty could mean. He had an idea from talking to people that had served as active duty servicemember and his recruiters. He also had different perspectives from different branches what it meant to be on active duty and what it meant to not to do it as an everyday job versus just doing military service one weekend a month or and two weeks in a year in the summer, which is the minimal military reserve servicemember requirement. He admits that he did not take full-time military service seriously and therefore considered the reserves as the good, safe military service route. He described the military reserves as the training wheels route. He knew he didn’t have to fully commit to every day of training non-stop like active duty servicemembers. I described the military reserves as sitting around a lot. He figured that was a reasonable goal for a couple days a month and couple of weeks a year. He believed that joining the reserves was a good way to explore military service before he chose it as a full-time career choice.

iii. P14 served in the US Army Reserves from 2008 to 2010. He went to active duty in 2010: He was stationed at Fort Drum, New York in a combat brigade a cavalry scout. During his reserve service he held the military specialty of chemical, biological, radiological nuclear operations specialist . He did make it most of the way through training for to become a combat medic, but he didn’t get certified in the specialty. Upon his change to full time active duty service he changed his specialty and was stationed at Fort Drum with orders for three years. After two years at Fort Drum before he deployed to Afghanistan. He served in the Paktika Province. The mission was to close things down. He was deployed in a year and a half window where people weren’t doing 12 month deployments. They were only doing nine month deployments. He described it as fortunate to deploy for 9 months from January 2013 to October 2013. While deployed he reenlisted. He then went on to Fort Eustis where he spent six months training to become a helicopter mechanic. He got hurt training. At the same time was having marital problems with his ex-spouse. He separated from the military December of 2015. P14 trained for three different military career specialties and attended five military trainings schools.

iv. P14 has attend three community colleges. The first, Onondaga Community College in Syracuse, New York which was his first experience in college . He described the experience as not bad and that he did well in his first semester. He attended within a year of separating from the military. He had worked for a short period and decided that school would better and from on that point based his decisions on what he knew at the time. He described community college staff as very helpful to him. They helped him in preparing and getting a good grasp and understanding on what it meant to start a community college start in the capacity of non-traditional student: They also oriented him to being veteran at community college. He described being surrounded by other students that were not similar in experience or age. He describes his experience at Onondaga Community College as having given him the first kind of experience of having that sense of community since his military separation. He admits that he ran into some different issues. In his second semester he attended for all of a week and then dropped in and withdrew from everything. He had experienced some mental health issues that he had to address. He also described having had some physical health issues. P14 had some home issues with his ex-spouse concerning their children. He withdrew from school shortly after the domestic problems arose. Shortly after withdrawing from school, he moved to Maryland. He started MACC in the Fall semester 2017. He describes receiving a ton of support, as he described, much more than he had experienced at the community college in New York. He described his appreciation for MACC’s the Military Veteran Resource Center understanding this is was a new center at MACC. He described the bunker room in the center as space in the center designed for veteran to de-escalate. He described the bunker as awesome space for him at that time. He got a better sense of community at MACC as there were more veterans and active-duty servicemembers at MACC. He felt that the personnel that he worked with both on a peer level and also on the college administration side was far superior to his previous experience. At his community college in New York worked a Marine dependent as the military counselor and person directed the veteran’s program there. At MACC, it helped him to work with a veteran specifically. Veteran peer-to-peer counseling was something that Onondaga County College didn’t have and that service helped him considerably with having someone at any given time to ask about why he was failing a course, why losing something like a benefit, or just needed to the talk . The veteran counselor and peer counselor can get things out of his head. He described the educational aspect of Onondaga Community College as a strongly encouraging environment that pushed him to do his absolute best and be the best that he I could he be. He had a couple of professors that he believed could care less. He described the educational aspect of his experience at MACC in Maryland as the same as New York community college. At MACC there were some really good professors that were really dedicated to helping students understand the classes they were in. He also described faculty members that were at the college to fill time or retire. He described the perception of an instructor have had experience in education or the subject mattery, they retired, so they decide to teach a couple of classes a semester supporting his beliefs that some instructors motivations are misplaced. He described the community college instructors as always knowledgeable about their subjects but weren’t always the best instructors. He believed that although some community college professors were knowledgeable, they were not the best in sharing information in an academic setting. He described instructor’s open disagreement with college approved curriculum and therefore would disengage from the college’s department guidelines without valid points to justify their dissent from the colleges adopted curriculum. He describes the level of instruction in this instance as leaving the student to attempt to piece it all together from what they gave him had no real structure. He then moved on to Cincinnati State Technical and Community College. His major was business administration at MACC and at Toronto community college. At Cincinnati State he changed his major to sustainable horticulture major. He admits that he walked away from a lot of business classes that he could have transferred and used towards a degree. He had to start over and learn more subjects including biology and organic science education. He describes his 4 year university experience as an unfortunate choice to study science. He made light of subject describing that, because he went to a community college that was more of a technical school than it was a community college and the degree plan was science heavy. He describes his overall experience as good.

v. P14 enrolled because being a veteran, he could use time in community college more for the BAH more than the educational benefit. The BAH helped to cover all the expenses that he had. He also started the divorce process at in the same timeframe including custody and support issues with his children. P14 had been evicted from a house and he was living with a family member. He had as he described, a lot of exterior things that he couldn’t separate and focus on his education. He admits that he didn’t have the confidence to apply for a better school than at a community college. He believed that there was a much better chance to be accepted and start at the community college when he wanted to than possibly having to negotiate university processes or experience the feeling of undeserving of a university. He works with a therapist regularly on his individual self-worth, and self-esteem. He described that he had a lot of things in his past that he let step in front of his future. He never considered a university because he received his GED at age 17 and failed the exam on the first take. He joined the military immediately after. He didn’t think that he was worthy of better caliber school than a community college.

vi. P14 admits that he did not sit through fruition for all of his classes that he enrolled. He took 10 classes at Mid-Atlantic Community College. He took nine at Toronto Community College. He took 14 at Cincinnati State for a total of 33.

vii. At the time of this study P14 was enrolled in a four year institution, Xavier University in farming community program which is geared towards sustainable agriculture. His educational goals are to continue to pursue the bachelor’s degree. His ultimate goal is to get a masters in botany and sustainability. He also pondered pursuing his doctorate to help better his career goals. P14 wants to do nonprofit work helping underdeveloped countries become self-sustaining and practice good sustainable agriculture, so that way they don’t have to depend so intensely on importing goods they can become developed. He wants to help underdeveloped countries develop agricultural infrastructure that is sustainable for the earth. That was his long term goal. In the short term, he wants to get his degree. He wants to continue with his education. His final ultimate goal is to do everything he can in his power to help the earth sustain and make it a good place and a sustainable place for generations to come to be able to maintain an inhabitable planet.

viii. P14 used his Montgomery GI Bill, Chapter. Upon attending MACC he converted his Montgomery GI Bill to the Post 9/11, Chapter 33 GI Bill. He described the benefit as extremely important as speculated that he would not have gone to college if he didn’t have the benefits.

o. P15 Profile

i. P15 a United States Marine veteran, male, age 27, African-American descent. He is originally from the East Coast. He moved to California to go to school to pursue a career and pursue the major of product design, which he likened to being a professional inventor/innovator. P15 does a lot of activities outside of community college including entrepreneurial and artistic activities. He tries to incorporate the entrepreneurial spirit into his art as well as his art into his entrepreneurial spirit and ambition.

ii. P15 was aviation engine mechanic in the Marines. However, he was experienced some physical disabilities that required adjustments in his job duties that required skill sets across three military specialties to help alleviate his physical disabilities. He was an aviation engine mechanic and expediting technician as well as a tool representative. He was medically retired from the military due to his physical disabilities. He did travel overseas to Japan during his military service. He also traveled to Hawaii and has been to a few numerous states working many hours. He described 12, 13, 14 hour days, especially on a combat deployment or a special duty team that included 14 hour days, seven days a week. He describes the “we” had a duty and a mission to make sure that we succeeded and do what we had to do. He described his military duties as very crucial and a key part of the squadron to keep aircraft fully functional. He described the squadron as the accumulation of all the Marines or military members attached in one unit. From the most senior ranking to the most junior ranking individual with everyone included

iii. P15 joined the military for a few reasons. There was the, the brotherhood of the greater cause. He described having the sense of belonging. He could have theoretically joined another branch of the military. He described a notion that other branches are a lot easier than the Marines and he wanted to choose the Marines specifically because to him it seemed like it was the most challenging as well as the most honorable branch to join. He described that is why the Marines stood out for him.

iv. P15 served from 2012 to 2016. He was stationed and Cherry Point, North Carolina. He attended military schools in Pensacola, Florida Washington, the state. He experienced deployments and attachments to Japan, Guam, Hawaii, Las Vegas, and Arizona. He served to the best of his ability. He tried to provide as much service to his country as he was able. He wanted to be the best Marine that he could be for himself as well as for his fellow marine to the left or to the right of him. His services included supply expedite director, as well as a tooling representative. He acquired that skill set from On the Job Training (OJT) learning as he performed that task. He described an OJT experience as a “sink or swim” experience. He portrayed the job activities as going from exercising the skill set of jet plane mechanic which can be very complicated, complexed, and grueling and to a military specialty where you are essentially the supply guy which required working with computer software, also very crucial the job that is essential to the mission, yet described the two specialties as a definite change in levels. He described one specialty may seem more complex than the other, the responsibility levels are high for both specialties. He had job that he couldn’t make a mistake. He described feeling pressure because of that requirement. He describes OJT as having learned the job in moment and having to be great at it from day one or at a minimum, week one. He portrayed the post OJT-trainee has higher expectations. P15 trained eventually gained rank. He trained junior military members. He described understanding mistakes and coaching his trainees to be the best Marines that they could be. He also knew that as the ranking member, he would have to answer the mistakes, find solutions, or troubleshoot problems initiated by junior service members. His goal was to do his best to do my research and troubleshoot issues to pull whatever problem out of the state of turmoil. His goal was to make sure that the team could continue with the overall missing.

v. P15 enrolled in community college because he is a person who likes to consider 10-100 different options before he decides on to pursue an option. Aside from the brotherhood and the greater cause of serving one’s country, going to school was an additional reason out of the other 10 reasons that he joined the military. He admitted the education benefit was factor his decision to join the military. He portrayed his high school in the perspective that he did not enjoy a class and did not enjoy going to school. He made up his mind in high school that he was going to join the military, as he believed, to progress in his life and not remain stagnant. He also pondered at that same time that in joining the military that he would attend college as well. He described the feeling of pride for keeping the commitment to himself. He did admit that for a short period of time had passed before he started college based on, as he described, overthinking or indecisiveness. He also described his moment of discovery on the academic major of product design, which was his major at the time of this study. He described his participation in the product design major as an adventure, an innovator possessing the ability to design products by elaborating and redesigning products. He was in the military when the product design me the fire really started to burn within him. He began research for best colleges that offered the product design major. He didn’t have many credits at the time. He researched the local community colleges in Maryland but none of colleges offered product design as a major. He decided to make an appointment with the military advisor at MACC. They discussed his dilemma on school choice, as mentioned, none of the Maryland schools offered the major of product design. They discussed potentially going to the one school that did have his desired major, Pasadena Community College in Pasadena City, California. The MACC military gave him a quote that said something along the lines of “sometimes you have to go all the way out of the way, just to get back on the right track”. The phrase resonated with him to the point of action. He contacted the community college in Pasadena as he had already done a tour of college due to his participation in a traveling poetry event. He had toured the school about a year before making contact. He spoke with the advisors in Pasadena. He was told that in order to discuss his transcripts or discuss a course schedule, he would need to meet in person with the advisor in Pasadena, CA. P15: And described that the conversation took place on Monday and the next available meeting was Thursday. Tuesday he just packed his bag and a plane to California. He attended the advising meeting the next day. A few days later he enrolled in classes

vi. He attributes his major for positioning him for opportunities with major companies. He has met a lot of professors in Pasadena that have affiliations with the major companies. The professors also teach at his college. He describes his community college as have an exceptional relationship with the prestigious Art Center. Although he didn’t attend the Art Center, he did receive education from the Art Center professors via his community college.

vii. P15 attended community college in North Carolina for a short period. He began taking classes at Mid-Atlantic Community College in the 2014-2015 school year. He moved to California in February of 2019. At the time of this study he was enrolled in community college in Pasadena, California. P15 took 11 courses, between 10-15 semester hours at Mid-Atlantic CC. He is enrolled four classes in Pasadena. He noted that two of the courses were completed while he was in the military.

viii. P15 utilized Chapter 33, Post 9/11 GI Bill and Chapter 30 Vocational Rehabilitation. The benefits help him find a guided a path that was better than the past that he had in mind and how these programs came about to help him survive. He found that the benefits pay for your books, tuition, and parking pass. He also described his appreciation for housing allowance. He believes every veteran should utilize these programs. He recommended to veterans that whether they like school or not, make school your job for a little while to get that degree because that degree can take a person places where you can meet people along the way that otherwise you would never have met. He attributed to the benefit for his opportunities to network with large entertainment companies He believes the benefit cleared the path so that a veteran does not have to go down the wrong path. He defined the benefit has having the ability to guide and align a student veteran.

ix. P15 further described the importance of the benefit as a lifesaver. He described his observation of the difficulties of school alone and even more difficult with work and children. He termed the benefits as definitely crucial. He explained the benefit as having the ability to support life balance. He further described the benefit as welcomed and needed. “We are definitely thankful for it at least I am.


9. Left Header – CENTRAL RESEARCH QUESTION Narrative – The researcher’s primary focus during the 15 semi-structured interviews was to capture responses related to the phenomenon of acculturation from the lived experiences of veterans who were currently enrolled in or had attended community college within the past 5 years. Three sub-questions are addressed within the central question:

10. CENTRAL SUB-QUESTION #1 – How do student veterans describe the aspects of their military culture that are no longer appropriate in community college culture?

11. CENTRAL SUB-QUESTION #2 – How do student veterans describe their own struggles in adapting to the community college culture?

12. CENTRAL SUB-QUESTION#3 -M How do student veterans describe the ways in which they successfully integrate military culture into community college culture?

13. Subsequently, the interview data would culminate in answering the central research question of the study: What are the lived experiences of student veterans negotiating the acculturation process at community colleges, with specific focus on cultural shedding, cultural stress, and cultural learning? Following the demographic question, the initial open-ended interview question asked was as follows:

a. Question 2 Interview – Please tell me about your military service

14. Sub-Question 2a Narrative

Why did you decide to join?

15. Sub-Question 2b Narrative

· When,

· where and

· how did you serve?

16. Question 3 Narrative – Please tell me about your community college experience.

17. Sub-Question 3a – Why did you decided to enroll?

18. Sub-Question 3 b – Where and when did you attend?

19. Sub-Question 3c – What did you study?

20. Sub-Question 3d – How many classes did you take?

21. Sub-question 3e – What is your goal – short and long-term (e.g. classes, degree)?

22. Sub-question 3f – Which veteran’s benefits did you use if any?

23. Sub question 3f(a) How important where was it for you to have those benefits?



26. QUESTION 4 – How would you describe military culture and what did you like/not like when you joined? NARRATIVE

27. QUESTION 5 – How would you describe military culture and what did you like/not like when you joined? NARRATIVE



30. QUESTION 6 – How well did you adjust to military culture?

31. Sub-Question 6a – What do you like now (military culture)

32. Sub-Question 6b – What do you not like now? (military culture)

33. QUESTION 7 – How would you say military culture differs from community college culture?

34. QUESTION 8 – How well did you adjust to community college culture?

35. Sub-question 8 (a)– What do you like now? (community college culture)

36. Sub-question 8 (b) – What do you knot like now? (community college culture)

37. Question 9 – What kinds of services are offered by the community college?

38. Sub-question 9 (a) – How do you utilize them, if at all?

39. Question 10 – How do you engage with other veterans at the community college, if at all?

40. Question 11 – How do you engage with nonveterans at the community college, if at all?

41. Question 12 – Are there parts of your military culture that you strive to maintain or wish others would adopt?

42. Question 13 – Can you tell me about times when you felt like you had to give up your military culture?


44. Question 14 – Is there anything else you would like to share about your move from military to community college?



47. Header–Results and Interpretations – This phenomenological study investigated the phenomenon of acculturation from the lived experiences of veterans who were enrolled in or had attended community college within the past 5 years. During a series of semi-structured interviews, 15 United States military veterans shared their experiences in the community college canopy. Data analysis from this study revealed both similarities and differences to the literature presented in Chapter 2. _5__ themes emerged from the semi-structured interview data.

48. Table – Themes Identified in the Data

49. Summary

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