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NBC News featured Pace graduate Bonita Rodriguez in "How this Marine found her voice, confidence to pursue the career she loves"

09/30/2020

NBC News featured Pace graduate Bonita Rodriguez in "How this Marine found her voice, confidence to pursue the career she loves"

After her enlistment, inspired by her Master Gunnery Sergeant, Rodriguez ended up at Pace University in New York City, originally studying psychology, but she linked up with other student veterans who told her about the many job opportunities in information technology. She graduated with her degree in 2019 and now works as a Media Tech Associate at NBC Universal on a rotation program, a role she said she loves.

Read the full NBC News article.

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Military Families.com featured Pace University 2019 graduate Bonita Rodriguez in "Pace University alumna named Student Veteran of the Year"

08/19/2020

Military Families.com featured Pace University 2019 graduate Bonita Rodriguez in "Pace University alumna named Student Veteran of the Year"

Bonita Rodriguez, a 2019 graduate of Pace University, received the organization’s award because of her dedication to helping other student veterans in their transition. SVA is a coalition of student-veteran groups on college campuses across the globe, with 1,500+ chapters representing 750,000+ student veterans.

Rodriguez was working as an administration specialist in the Marine Corps when she decided to pursue college. But her reasons for this pursuit went beyond bettering herself. As a child she saw her parents, Mexican immigrants, work hard with little to show for it.

“They didn’t have many opportunities and seeing them work their butts off gave me the motivation to want to do more and show them what their hard work has provided for me,” she said.

As the first in her family to go to college, Rodriguez says she wanted to set an example.

“I have younger siblings and I want them to know there’s more out there in the world, and as long as you keep pushing yourself there are no limits.”

But the gap in school after completing high school left her feeling intimidated. Rodriguez, however, received an unexpected push from her master gunnery sergeant. He took time with her to make sure she researched information and would be set to reach higher when she left the military.

“He basically forced me to look up colleges and took his time to help Marines transition from active duty. To see someone so high up make time in their day to check on me and make sure I have a plan was really inspiring,” Rodriguez said.

So, she began her hunt.

Last year, Rodriguez graduated from Pace University with a degree in Information Technology. The process wasn’t easy but it was the intentionality of the military supportive programs the school offered that helped her process.

Read the full Military Families.com article.

 

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Westfair Online featured Veterans Director Peter Riley in "Peter Riley: Congress passes legislation allowing vets on GI Bill to get full benefits"

03/27/2020

Westfair Online featured Veterans Director Peter Riley in "Peter Riley: Congress passes legislation allowing vets on GI Bill to get full benefits"

The job of educating students amid the coronavirus pandemic has become increasingly complicated for higher education as classes move online and social distancing drastically changes campus life for the foreseeable future.

While so many students are being adversely impacted and must be taken care of, it’s especially important that our student veterans don’t fall through the cracks.

Steven Garcia, a U.S. Marine veteran attending Pace University in Pleasantville, was worried that the monthly housing allowance he receives under the GI Bill could have been significantly reduced now that students can no longer attend classes in person.

A senior majoring in accounting, Garcia served from 2010 to 2014 and was stationed in Japan, Afghanistan and Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. He was one of thousands of veterans who feared that if Congress and the president did not act quickly, they could lose a substantial amount of housing allowance benefits under the GI Bill.

That won’t happen as Congress has passed a bill and the President signed it. It’s precisely the type of quick mobilization that is required during these unprecedented times.

Here’s some backstory.

In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency. Responding to an environment that is changing daily, if not hourly, and for the safety and security of students, staff and faculty, Pace University – like colleges and universities across the country – made the decision to move all classes to an online/interactive format.

The switch to online classes, however, put in jeopardy GI Bill funding that many of our veterans depend upon. As a result, many Pace student veterans could have lost more than $2,000 a month in benefits due to circumstances beyond their control. That sum would have been reduced because of the way the Veteran’s Administration approves a school’s program. There are effectively three options for a program to be approved for VA education benefits: distance; hybrid; and in-residence education.

“Living in Westchester is very expensive,’’ said Garcia, 28, who lives in Cortlandt Manor with his mother. “Without this assistance half of veterans would not be able to pay car payments, mortgages and bills.”

Read the full Westfair Online article.

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News12 featured Lubin student and veteran in the Marine Corps Steven Garcia in "Congress passes bill to protect G.I. Bill benefits for veterans"

03/20/2020

News12 featured Lubin student and veteran in the Marine Corps Steven Garcia in "Congress passes bill to protect G.I. Bill benefits for veterans"

A bill was passed by the U.S. Congress Thursday to protect thousands of dollars of monthly G.I. Bill benefits for veterans and their families earning a college degree. 

The coronavirus pandemic has caused colleges and universities in the area to cancel most, if not all, in-person classes and have students take online courses. Steven Garcia, who was a corporal in the Marine Corps for four years and now studies accounting at Pace University in Pleasantville, says while veterans or their family members are earning a degree, they receive a monthly housing allowance from the G.I. Bill.

Read and watch News12.

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American Military News featured alumna Bonita Rodriguez in "Meet the Marine Corps veteran named 2020 Student Veteran of the Year"

02/07/2020

American Military News featured alumna Bonita Rodriguez in "Meet the Marine Corps veteran named 2020 Student Veteran of the Year"

Rodriguez said it was her Master Gunnery Sergeant who “voluntold” her to start looking into colleges and other career plans outside of the military.

Rodriguez, who described herself as somewhat timid, chose to attend Pace University in New York for its veteran-friendly reputation. Still, she was attending school on the other side of the country from her friends and family in Oregon and still adjusting to life without the strict structure of the military.

“You’re going back to the real world and you’re like ‘what do I do with myself, how do I do this,” Rodriguez said. “No one is telling you how to do anything, you’ve got to figure it out on your own again.”

Despite that lack of structure, Rodriguez soon found she was not alone on campus. There were other veterans all around her and they reached out to tell her about the Student Veterans of America (SVA).

The group, formed somewhat like a fraternity, has over 1,500 chapters at universities all across the country. Among those chapters, the organization represents over 750,000 students. The group’s advocacy ranges from helping student veterans stay involved in higher education at the individual to veteran scholarships and promoting the expansion of the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill.

“I don’t like posting what I do. I don’t like telling people what I’ve done,” she said. “I just appreciate when I was in the transition and I was stuck in this ‘I’m not talking to anyone, I’m not asking any questions, I’ll figure it out on my own’ kind of thing and then these people were forcing it out of me. Other veterans were helping me out.”

For Rodriguez, the SVA’s mission took on a personal significance as its members reached out to her as a student veteran and she worked to pay the favor forward to other student veterans like her. Rodriguez said other SVA members chose to extend their friendship to her and in turn she said she chose to do the same.

Rodriguez turned her free time outside of school towards identifying and making new connections between her SVA chapter and new veteran programs. Among some of her efforts, she said she found organizations that would help the veterans in her chapter prepare their resumes and find job placements out of school. She said her efforts also included “forcing” some student veterans to get involved and encouraging them to attend SVA meetings.

She persisted with the SVA’s mission and by 2019 she had graduated from Pace University with a bachelor’s in information technology and gained her own internship with NBC Universal.

Rodriguez and her chapter’s success were highlighted by the SVA during the organization’s national conference at the beginning of January. Rodriguez was not just a successful student veteran, but the winner of the organization’s 2020 Student Veteran of the year award.

Read the full American Military News article.

 

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"College Factual" featured Pace University in "Pace University – New York Ranked One of the Best for Vets in 2020"

11/22/2019

"College Factual" featured Pace University in "Pace University – New York Ranked One of the Best for Vets in 2020"

New York Rankings Review

Pace University is ranked #8 out of 132 colleges reviewed by College Factual in its Best Colleges for Veterans in New York analysis.

This puts Pace University in the top 10 percent of all schools in the state for veteran friendliness. Pace University improved its ranking position 7 slots over the previous year’s ranking of 15.

National Rankings Review

Pace University is ranked #157 out of 1,751 for veteran friendliness of all colleges and universities reviewed by College Factual.

This means Pace University is in the top 10 percent of all schools in the nation in the Best for Vets category. Pace University improved its ranking position 56 slots over the previous year’s ranking of 213.

Read the full College Factual article.

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