2018 NASPA Symposium on Military-Connected Students

February 15 – February 17, 2018
New Orleans Marriott; New Orleans, LA

Hosted annually, the NASPA Symposium on Military-Connected Students focuses on effective strategies to serve and support the success of veterans and other military-connected students. 

Thank you to those who joined us in New Orleans, LA during the 2018 event. To learn more about the 2019 event taking place in Las Vegas, NV, click here.

Register Online


Military-connected students comprise a growing population in higher education, and are those who enroll in postsecondary education with current or prior service with the military and their dependents. These students are also diverse in terms of demographic characteristics and service backgrounds, placing an important role on student affairs professionals and leaders to develop comprehensive, targeted, and meaningful support services to encompass the needs of these unique students. The Symposium provides opportunities for professionals and other stakeholders to share and learn ways to effectively support military-connected students.

This 2.5 day symposium features keynote sessions; research, policy, and best practices presentations; and workshop style sessions to help campus professionals develop or enhance their programming and services for military-connected students.


  • Click here for history

    The NASPA Symposium on Military-Connected Students evolved from the University of Louisville Veteran Symposium for Higher Education that had been conducted in Louisville, Kentucky for the first six years of the program. Under the University of Louisville’s direction, the conference grew from a small one-day conference into the premiere conference on student veterans with over 200 participants in its final years. The University of Louisville transitioned host responsibilities to NASPA after the 2014 Symposium to provide a national forum for the institutional policy, programming, and concerns of military and student veteran populations.

    The symposium was envisioned by Tom Jackson, a military veteran, and Frank Mianzo. At the time they envisioned the program, Tom Jackson served as the Vice President for Student Affairs and Frank Mianzo served as the Chief of Staff for the Office of the President for Student Affairs, both at the University of Louisville. It was their desire to host an annual program that focused on issues related to student veterans while bringing together colleagues committed to serving student veterans. With the program planning and general assistance of Kathy Snead from Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges, Shirley Hardy, Laura Mercer, and Glenn Gittings from the University of Louisville, the symposium flourished each successive year.

    NASPA is grateful for the University of Louisville’s focus and leadership on this important area of higher education and looks forward to continuing the growth and development of the conference to best serve the professional development needs of those who work with our student veterans and other military-connected students

    In February 2014, NASPA was honored to assume planning and hosting duties at the request of the University. The 2015 NASPA Veterans Conference boasted over 240 participants and 40 different programs. In 2016, the event changed its name to more accurately reflect the population of students served by attendees and more closely align with trends in research and policy.


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National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC)

NASPA has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 5120. Programs that do not quality for NBCC credit are clearly identified. NASPA is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.

Click here for more information on Continuing Education and frequently asked questions.

If you have questions about Continuing Education, please contact Teri Gillmor at tgillmor@naspa.org.


Presented By


This event is most likely to influence these groups.

  • Mid-Level
  • New Professional
  • Senior Level
  • Vice President for Student Affairs
  • Faculty
  • AVP or “Number Two”


Let others know you are coming!

Use this hashtag to see what others are sharing #SMCS18

Call for Programs

This year's call for programs has is now closed. Thank you to all who submitted a proposal. For a detailed program schedule, scroll down to the "Schedule" portion of this web page.

The symposium content advisory committee seeks proposals that effectively advance the field of student affairs in work with military-connected students.  Presenters will be asked to identify the content level of their session; foundational, intermediate, or advanced. Additionally, the symposium content advisory committee will select programs based upon the programs' relationships to the symposium themes, which are based on the symposium themes and learning outcomes.

The Symposium Planning Committee would like to express their gratitude to all who volunteered to review program proposals.

Conference Themes & Suggested Topics

  • Academic Advising

    ​Sessions in this theme will contain substantial content in one of the following areas:

    • Build an academic advising infrastructure that meets the needs, and supports military-connected students utilizing benefits

    • Recognize the effect of state and federal education benefits on the successful enrollment and persistence of military-connected students

    • Identify faculty and staff to be involved in supporting the academic advising needs of military-connected students on campus and in what ways

    • Define promising techniques for student engagement and success in the academic advising arena

  • Assessment and Research

    ​Sessions in this theme will contain substantial content in one of the following areas:

    • Understand practices to assess needs and/or outcomes of campus-based services to support military-connected students

    • Identify strategies to integrate assessment into practice to support military-connected students

    • Describe research findings as they relate to supporting military-connected students 

  • Career Readiness

    Sessions in this theme will contain substantial content in one of the following areas:

    • Identify processes to prepare military-connected students for the workforce

    • Articulate how  military-connected students experiences translate to a civilian career path

    • Summarize on and off campus resources to support military-connected students in planning a career trajectory

    • Identify methods for engaging military-connected students in identifying a major that aligns with their values, skills, and interests

  • Community Engagement

    ​Sessions in this theme will contain substantial content in one of the following areas:

    • Recognize the value of collaborative connections and resources on and off campus for holistic support services of veteran students

    • Understand the importance of promoting the value of veterans in the community, both on and off campus

    • Anticipate potential barriers to military-connected student success in the community

  • Supporting sub-populations within the military-connected identity

    Sessions in this theme will contain substantial content in one of the following areas:

    • Identify multiple sub-populations within the military connected identity and their unique challenges

    • Understand the importance of multicultural competence when serving military connected students

    • Understand the inter-sectionality of identity and the relevance to student veterans and other military-connected students why it matters to student veterans and other military-connected students

    • Understand underserved racial/ethnic/religious groups, women veterans, LGBTQIA experiences and develop supportive programing

    • Identify challenges of supporting students with families

  • Unique, effective campus programs

    ​Sessions in this theme will contain substantial content in one of the following areas:

    • Define, identify, and leverage unique campus programming that meets the needs of military-connected students

    • Identify and create partnerships to address relevant issues for military-connected students through internal and external partnerships

    • Create evidence-based programming and appropriate assessment tools to measure success and relevancy

  • Veterans 101

      ​Sessions in this theme will contain substantial content in one of the following areas:
      • Identify unique characteristics of military affiliated students in higher education

      • Understand and develop critical programming components which enable military affiliated students’ success, including organizational structure

      • Identify possible barriers to programmatic success and develop strategies to offset these challenges

      • Establish supportive professional relationships with those seeking to begin or expand military affiliated student programming in Higher Education

  • Policy

      ​Sessions in this theme will contain substantial content in one of the following areas:
    • Understand the current landscape on policy, at the national, state, and locale level related to military-connected students. 
    • Identify promising practices for implementing policies related to military-connected students on-campus.
    • Have a comprehensive understanding of the key-stakeholders involved in policy making at the federal, state, and campus level on issues related to military-connected students.

Submission Timeline
  • October 9, 2017
    EXTENDED Call for Programs Deadline
  • October 20, 2017
    Presenter Notification Emails
  • October 27, 2017
    Presenter Confirmation Due
  • December 8, 2017
    Presenter Online Orientation

Writing Tips

Looking for tips on writing an effective NASPA proposal? See sample submissions and formatting tips in our Program Submission Guidelines.


Please contact NASPA if you have any further questions about submitting a program proposal for the 2018 NASPA Symposium on Military-Connected Students.

Jake Frasier
Assistant Director of Educational Programs
Phone: 202-719-1180
Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


The schedule was designed to provide participants with interactive and engaging programming, opportunities for deeper discussion, and networking. For a printable schedule at a glance, click the button below.

The schedule is subject to minor changes. 

Full Schedule

Thu, Feb 15

7:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Check-In Open
Please check-in with a NASPA staff member upon arrival to obtain your name badge, program book, and other program information.
9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Pre-Symposium Workshops
Additional registration required to attend.
Innovation=Increased Funding, Prestige, and Advanced Veteran’s Programming Capability
Serving Military-Connected Students 101
Serving your Students: Strategies to Expand your Military-Connected Student Support Services
12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Exhibitor Tables Open
Mardi Gras Ballroom
1:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
Conference Welcome and Opening Keynote Speaker
Dr. Marsha Guenzler-Stevens
2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Extended Learning Sessions I
Attendees can select to either attend one 2-hour session or two 1-hour sessions between 2:30 p.m. - 4:45 p.m.
Fundraising 101: Tactics, Techniques, and Tips for Campus Veteran Service Professionals
Integrating Military Experience Into Academic Life
Research by Military-Connected Students: What are they Studying Why Does it Matter
2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Concurrent Sessions I
Best Practices for Creating and Sustaining Veteran-Friendly Schools
Building Community between Texas Christian University Honors Students and Veterans through Listening
Crosstown Partners: Xavier University and Cincinnati VA Medical Center
Evaluating the Impact of Military-Friendly Programs in Higher Education: A Quantitative Study
Supporting Gold Star Families on Campus
3:45 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.
Concurrent Sessions II
"It's Just Different for Women Veterans": Exploring the Post-Military Development of Female Veterans Attending a 4-year Institution
Local, Regional, and State Partnership Models for Veteran Success
Post-Assessment of Faculty/Staff Perceptions of Military and Veteran Students
Service in Uncertainty: The Future of Transgender Service Members in the Military
Stealing Theories to Understand Student Veterans
5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Large General Interest Sessions I
Establishing Trust: Disability Services and Veterans
Failed Community Partnerships: Who’s at Fault?
MAPPED Out! Making Impact through Assessment, Purposeful Programs, Evaluation, and Direct Contact
Straight Talk for Veterans: Maximizing the Student Veteran Experience
6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Networking Reception & Poster Sessions
Posters will be available to view/engage with during the 1.5 hour reception. A list of posters to be shared is below.
Construction Zone: Building Your Knowledge with Concrete Designs for Supporting Military-Connected Students
Developing a Required Academic Advising Program for Military-Connected Students: Challenges, Successes, Value
Developing a Study Abroad Program for Military-Connected Students with Educational Benefits
Learning Community for First-Generation Student Veterans at Texas A&M University
Let’s Save our Veteran Students Thousands!
Student Veterans and their Transition to Becoming a College Student
VET-SIM: Designing Simulations to Support Transitions from Military Service to Collegiate Study

Fri, Feb 16

7:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Exhibitor Tables Open
Mardi Gras Ballroom
7:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Registration Open
7:45 a.m. – 8:15 a.m.
Continental Breakfast (Provided)
8:15 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
Your Life as Story: How Viewing Life through the Lens of a Storyteller Empowers Growth
Plenary Keynote Speaker - Tracy Crow
9:45 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.
Extended Learning Sessions II
Attendees can select to either attend one 2-hour session or two 1-hour sessions between 9:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.
Illinois State Collaboration Model to Promote Student Veteran Success
Soldiers on Campus: How Teaching Techniques can Foster Student Service Member Success
The Forever G.I. Bill and What's Next
9:45 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.
Concurrent Sessions III
Career Readiness and Employment: Strategies for Supporting Student Veteran Job Seekers
Engaged Student, Engaged Campus, Engaged Community: A Pathway for Student Veteran Success
Expanding Access of Veteran Programming Through Educational Technologies
Rutgers Mini-MBA: Business Management for Military and Veterans-Preparing Veterans for Business
Supporting Student Veteran Success Through Assessment
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Concurrent Sessions IV
An Alternative Approach to Recognizing Military Service through Accelerated Program Pathways
Engaging Student Veterans in the Greater Community
Examining Transition Experiences of Military-Connected Students of Color
Squared Away: Building an Effective Advising Model to Captivate Unique Student Populations
Telling Your Story: Operationalizing Institutional Veteran Data on a Micro-Scale
12:15 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Lunch (On Your Own)
12:15 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Optional Plated Lunch & Veterans Knowledge Community Awards
Additional registration is required for this plated luncheon
1:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.
Concurrent Sessions V
Beyond Academia: Successful Strategies for Holistic Support of the Student Veteran in the 21st Century
Creating Effective Re-Integration Opportunities for Veterans Through Innovative Community Engagement
Designing and Implementing Veterans and Military-Connected Students Multicultural Initiatives on College Campuses
Exploring Pivotal Decision Points in Student Veterans’ Education Life-Cycle
Military Student Center Practices: Partnering with Institutional Research
VRC Strategic Planning: Intentionally Building Outcome-Based Programs
Women Student Veterans: The Importance of Leadership Development Programming
2:45 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.
Regional Networking Coffee Break
Attendees will have an opportunity to enjoy light refreshments while networking with colleagues from their NASPA Region.
3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Large General Interest Sessions II
Developing Intercultural Competence: Concepts and Best Practices from Communication Educators and Coaches
National Veteran Education Success Tracker (NVEST) Project Results and Future Directions
Student Veteran: Transfer Advisement
Using Data to Explore the Changing Landscape of Military-Connected Students
4:45 p.m. – 5:45 p.m.
Military-Connected Topical Roundtables
During this time, individuals will be asked to identify a topic of interest and join a set of roundtables to discuss/dialogue with their peers. Every 15 minutes (6:15 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 6:45 p.m.), a member of the planning committee will briefly interrupt conversation via microphone to provide a space for folks to join other topical tables, if interested.
6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
NASPA Veterans Knowledge Community Reception

Sat, Feb 17

7:45 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.
Continental Breakfast (Provided)
7:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Exhibitor Tables Open
Mardi Gras Ballroom
8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
Tapping into your Passion to Overcome Adversity
Keynote Speaker - Earl Granville
9:45 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.
Participants' Choice Sessions
Participants will be able to vote on a select number of programs to be presented once again on Saturday, February 17.
11:00 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.
Symposium Closing

Pre-Conference Programs & Events

We're thrilled to offer a selection of pre-conference workshops at an additional cost. These programs are meant for attendees with varying professional experiences so please review the description to determine which one to select at the time of registration.

Serving Military-Connected Students 101

Thursday, February 15th • 09.00 AM – 12.00 PM

Who Should Attend:
This session is designed for attendees who are just entering the work of supporting military-connected students.
This pre-conference workshop content will be focused on evidence-based practices from experienced presenters with insightful perspectives.

View More Details

Cody Nicholls, assistant dean of students - The University of Arizona

The pre-conference workshop content will be focused on evidence-based practices from experienced presenters with insightful perspectives. Participants will be introduced to concepts and strategies to bring to their own campus which will aid in their production of initiatives to support their military-connected students.

Serving your Students: Strategies to Expand your Military-Connected Student Support Services

Thursday, February 15th • 09.00 AM – 12.00 PM

Who Should Attend:
This session is designed for attendees who have several years of experience in their positions serving military-connected students.
This pre-conference workshop will focus on establishing advanced practices to include: expanding programming, fundraising, goal setting and benchmarking.

View More Details

Janine Wert, director of veterans' services - University of Massachusetts Lowell

This pre-conference workshop will focus on establishing advanced practices to include:

  • expanding programming;
  • fundraising;
  • goal setting and benchmarking; and,
  • sustainable student leadership

In addition, participants will walk away understanding ways to influence the national dialogue surrounding serving military-connected students in higher education.

Innovation = Increased Funding, Prestige, and Advanced Veteran’s Programming Capability

Thursday, February 15th • 09.00 AM – 12.00 PM

Who Should Attend:
This session is thought provoking and designed for attendees that have well-established programs and are dedicated to moving their program to “the next level."
Participants will develop an understanding of the importance of cultivating mutually-beneficial collaborative relationships with on-campus academic and research units; how to develop these relationships; and how to get senior administrators on-board.

View More Details


Mike Carrell, assistant provost - The Ohio State University

Walter Stewart, director, veterans recruitment and student services - University of Alabama at Birmingham

Eric Hill, director, entrepreneurship center - Mississippi State University

Harish Chader, PhD, assistant professor, biomechanics and neuromotor control; research director, center for learning excellence through rehabilitation and neuromechanics (L.E.R.N.) - Mississippi State University

Wes Gordon, director, planned giving, - Mississippi State University Foundation

Ken McRae, president - K.D. McRae and Associates, LLC

The design of this session is twofold:

  1. A panel detailing examples of current programming; how the programming was conceived and implemented; the impact on the institutions veteran’s program, the partner program, and the university; senior administrator’s concerns and how to overcome them; and resourcing. 
  2. Roundtables dedicated to imparting actionable information.                       

The participants will develop an understanding of the importance of cultivating mutually-beneficial collaborative relationships with on-campus academic and research units; how to develop these relationships; and how to get senior administrators on-board.


Registration as a member is based on individual membership status. If you are employed by a college or university that is a NASPA institutional member, you can join as an individual member at the $75 rate. This gives you the conference registration and a year of membership for less than the non-member registration fee. 

If your institution is NOT a member, then you will need to join at the associate affiliate rate of $242 and pay the individual member rate for conference registration. Visit the Membership section of the NASPA website to learn about membership types. For information on group rates and registration policies, please click the Registration Policies button.

Register Online

Registration Fees

before 12/15/2017
12/16/2017 to 01/26/2018
after 01/27/2018
NASPA Member
NASPA Student Member
Pre-Symposium Workshop


Tonya Murphy
Membership Coordinator
Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Phone: 202-265-7500 ext. 1183

Jake Frasier
Assistant Director of Educational Programs
Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Phone: 202-265-7500 ext. 1180


View Registration Policies

Cancellation:  The cancellation deadline to receive a refund is December 15, 2017, less a $50.00 administrative fee.  All cancellation and refund requests must be received in writing.  No refunds will be given after this date for any reason.  All requests for cancellation and refunds must be in writing to refund@naspa.org .

Group Registration: NASPA offers discounts for attendees registering in groups of two or more individuals. To apply for this discount please contact NASPA at events@naspa.org . Please include in the email your name, the conference you're registering for, your institution name, and how many individuals you're registering. Our membership department will contact you once they've received this information.

Purchase Orders: Purchase orders will NOT be accepted for registration. There is now a Bill Me option online if you need to submit paperwork to your accounting office to have a check cut for your registration payment. Please use that option when registering online.

Substitutions: Substitutions are allowed by individuals within the same institution/company. Substitutions should have the same member classification so that the payment is an even exchange transfer of payment. Please email your request for the substitute attendee to events@naspa.org. 

Registration Questions? Contact the NASPA office at 202-265-7500 or via e-mail at events@naspa.org .


  • Marsha Guenzler-Stevens, Ph.D.

    Marsha Guenzler-Stevens, Ph.D.

    Director, Adele H. Stamp Student Union
    University of Maryland, College Park

    Speaker Bio

  • Tracy Crow

    Tracy Crow

    Speaker, Author, Veteran

    Speaker Bio

  • Earl Granville

    Earl Granville

    Public Speaker & Combat Veteran

    Speaker Bio


If you would like to exhibit at or sponsor the 2018 NASPA Symposium on Military-Connected Students please fill out the exhibitor application form and e-fax back all pages to 202-204-8443 or scan and e-mail to kjerde@naspa.org by January 8,2018. Questions? Contact Kristie Jerde by phone at 218-280-7578 or via email at kjerde@naspa.org.

During the event, please visit the Symposium exhibitor tables in the Mardi Gras Ballroom Foyer at the following dates and times:

  • Thursday, February 15: 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Friday, February 16: 7:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.


New Orleans Marriott
New Orleans, LA

All conference activities will take place at the New Orleans Marriott.

NASPA has arranged special room rates for conference attendees at the New Orleans Marriott starting at $189/night (not including 15.75% applical tax and a $3 city occupancy fee). The cut-off date to receive the conference room rate is Wednesday, January 24, 2018. Rooms in the conference block may sell out prior to the cut-off date, so please make your reservation as soon as possible.


Hotel Room Rate/Night
New Orleans Marriott
555 Canal Street, New Orleans, LA 70130
$189 - Single/Double
  • Travel

    New Orleans is serviced by Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY). The hotel is approximately 13 miles from the airport.

  • Transportation

    For more information regarding shuttle providers to and from MSY, please visit the Ground Transportation section of the MSY website.

    For more information regarding taxi cab service, please visit the Ground Transportation page of the MSY website. Taxi fare from MSY to the New Orleans Marriott is approximately $36 one-way.

    Rental Cars
    For more information on available rental car companies and contact information, please visit the Ground Transportation page of the MSY website.

  • Weather

    Temperatures in New Orleans in February are around 65 degrees F during the day and 46 degrees F in the evening. As the conference gets closer, please visit the Weather Channel for more information.

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