Here’s how TCC is working to make Ivy Leagues more attainable for their military students

Christian Martinez was a part of the Princeton Warrior Scholar Project program. He hopes to finish his degree there to work with Spacex's Deep Space program. (Southside Daily/courtesy of TCC)
Christian Martinez was a part of the Princeton Warrior Scholar Project program. He hopes to finish his degree there to work with Spacex’s Deep Space program. (Southside Daily/courtesy of TCC)

VIRGINIA BEACH — Starting in November, military members who attend Tidewater Community College will get the chance to hear from representatives of a unique military-focused program, the Warrior Scholar Project.

“Many of our military students are unaware of some of the resources available to them once they get to college, the Warrior Scholar Project being one of them,” said Batanya Gipson, interim executive director for the Center for Military and Veteran Education.

Military members can often be intimidated by Ivy League colleges so the program allows them to experience Ivy League classes, learn about the admissions process and get an idea of what the programs are like once they do get in, Gipson said.

“It shows them they can go Ivy if they want to,” she added.

The program’s importance

Christian Martinez, an alumnus of the Princeton Warrior Scholar Project program, has been studying at TCC while he serves in the Virginia National Guard.

Prior to that he was serving in the Marines and was deployed twice to Iraq.

Once it came time for Martinez to start exploring higher education he said he felt that some institutions were out of reach.

“The program helped me write my essays, it helped me to confidently write my college application,” he said.

In addition to the college admissions process, Martinez was able to take classes on campus and work with graduate students at Princeton.

“They were very passionate about their teaching,” he said.

He said he was most interested in the Astro-Physics program as he hopes to work with Spacex’s Deep Space program upon graduation.

“I think people will change their views on education once they go through this program,” he added, noting the importance of seeing how Ivy League colleges ran their studies and campuses.

He will be applying to Princeton along with a few other top colleges across the country.

Program requirements

Martinez had to find out about the program through his veterans resource liaison, Shelly Bearden.

“This program is an opportunity to apply to schools they never considered,” Bearden said.

The military students need to apply to the program and choose between one- and two-week courses on the various participating campuses across the country, she said.

The only cost associated with the program is travel — once the student gets to campus, everything else is covered, including room and board, Bearden noted.

TCC is now trying to get more of its military students to learn about the program by having Warrior Scholar Project representatives come to campus and give presentations and answer questions, Gipson said.

Starting November, TCC’s military student community will have access to presentations on the program.

To learn more about the Warrior Scholar Project, click here.

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