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Helping fellow veterans through Veterans Upward Bound

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Featured veteran, William Vanderslik, talks about why he joined Veterans Upward Bound, and how he helps other veterans through the program.
Featured veteran, William Vanderslik

Featured veteran, William Vanderslik /William Vanderslik

What to Expect at VUB

VUB provides an academic skill building program that is coupled with individualized attention and a flexible teaching and tutoring schedule. The goal is to provide the necessary academic support to veterans to enroll in postsecondary education (degree or vocational/technical programs) at any institution.

The VUB center is located on the 7th floor of the L.V. Eberhard Center (301 Fulton Street W, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49504). Online and in distance-learning formats are also available. Click here for more on what to expect.

Candace VanderVeen, Community Engagement Coordinator at VUB, helping a veteran with their homework.

Candace VanderVeen, Community Engagement Coordinator at VUB, helping a veteran with their homework. /Veterans Upward Bound

Student veterans studying in the VUB center.

Student veterans studying in the VUB center. /Veterans Upward Bound

William Vanderslik has been involved with Veterans Upward Bound (VUB) since April 2018. He joined VUB to help fellow veterans with their educational and career goals, and also because he liked the social aspect to the program.

“I wanted to help other veterans that were transitioning from the service to college. It’s nice to be able to talk to another veteran about our past in a way that I don’t feel comfortable sharing with regular students,” he said.

William is working towards an Accounting and Finance degree at Grand Valley State University. “I am hoping to find a career as a tax accountant at a local CPA firm, but I am also interested in managerial accounting as a backup plan,” William said. He served in the military for 8.5 years. He started out in the U.S. Marines, and later joined the U.S. Army. “I was a Rifleman in the 8th Marines and Parachute Infantry serving with the 82nd Airborne Division in the Army, where I spent two tours in Afghanistan,” he said.

William enjoys assisting other veterans, and has in numerous ways through the services that VUB offers. “I have helped veterans with resume and cover letter writing. Often, it can be difficult for some veterans to translate their military skills to the civilian world,” he says. “This is particularly the case for me where I was an Infantryman in the Army and am hoping to become an accounting professional. There is nothing comparable between those two positions.”

Along with that, William has helped veteran’s complete applications for scholarships, and has tutored students in accounting and finance classes. He has also helped them with their class structures, such as figuring out what combination of classes would be best to take. “I speak with veterans about strategies to succeed in school. I have spoken with some veterans that want to give up on school, and have encouraged them to stay,” he said.

When William was asked what his favorite part of Veterans Upward Bound is, he had this to say, “I love veterans. I know it’s difficult for veterans to transition into college. The college life is completely different from what we were used to in the service. It can be discouraging, and I enjoy being able to help them through some of the issues that can get in their way.”

William encourages veterans to look into the Veterans Upward Bound program. “It’s a good opportunity to network with other veterans. It can present opportunities for veteran students to be able to talk about some issues that may be affecting their education with someone who may better understand where they are coming from.”

If you would like to know more about Veterans Upward Bound, please watch this video that explains the program further, including the specific services VUB offers veterans.


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