Employers have long valued veteran employees for a variety of skills and qualities such as their ability to work on a team, mission oriented work ethic, and their technical expertise. Growing regional industries have looked upon [Institution] to meet some of their engineering needs through veteran graduates, but demand for engineers is increasing and outpacing the small veteran student population. Veteran enrollment in colleges and universities has increased in the past decades in part to the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill. However, transitioning veterans from a military lifestyle and occupation to an academic lifestyle and occupation can be a significant challenge for some. Connecting veteran students with the support they need is crucial to their continuing success, in the classroom and beyond. Their military experience often develops great skills and persistence, making them effective and well-regarded students. Faculty and traditional students at civilian or military colleges can benefit from these qualities. Once a veteran or active duty student has made contact and then a commitment to attend, there are a number of activities and processes employed both before they arrive and during their time on campus to retain them in engineering and graduate with an engineering degree as quickly as possible. The focus of these efforts are to create a culture of open communications with potential veterans and increase engagement of these students with faculty, engineering professionals, and peers to matriculate them to the engineering profession. The overall goal was met through an effective recruiting program and ensuring the right tools were in place for retention that allowed students to be a part of a dynamic and supportive educational environment inside and outside of the classroom. While each veteran or active duty student has different needs and challenges, all still need information and resources that will help them succeed as well as connect them to the campus community, so that they feel more fully apart of the learning environment and can meet their educational goals. This paper will describe and assess the use of campus visits, community college prep courses, the campus veteran student liaison, engineering activities, scholarships, and cohort communities to recruit and retain veteran and active duty students. It also will describe programs and activities such as supplemental instruction, STEM lab, STEM events that have meaningful impact on their persistence and ultimately demonstrate the success of these programs. This paper also presents a brief overview of the diversity of veteran student experience and confidence as well as veteran success indicators.
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