By KYLER SUMTER
The Warrior-Scholar Project (WSP) will host an academic boot camp at the University of Chicago from June 25 to July 1.
“The majority of enlisted personnel exiting the military have not been in a classroom setting for several years, and find it hard to transition, being unprepared for the fundamentally different social and cultural environment,” according to a Warrior-Scholar Project press release. “WSP helps veterans rediscover and develop the skills and confidence necessary to successfully complete four-year undergraduate programs in higher education.”
The goals of the boot camps are to help veterans discover, or rediscover, the skills needed to complete four-year undergraduate degrees and help them successfully transition from the military to college. Each boot camp is led by a group of student veterans and taught by professors and graduate students. The classes, which utilize classic and modern scholarly works, focus on teaching how to frame ideas in an academic context and formulate scholarly arguments.
Funders and private donors cover the entire cost of the program, excluding travel. Participants will reside in University of Chicago campus housing and attend lectures in various classrooms.
The WSP launched in 2012 and has had programs at schools like Yale University and The University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) and plans to host more than 200 veterans at boot camps across the country in 2017. WSP participants have gone on to enroll at schools like Harvard and Cornell and complete internships at NASA and the White House.
James Fitzgerald, an alumnus of the U of C program, discussed how the program helped boost his confidence.
“I can take that class that so many people say is too hard or strenuous,” Fitzgerald said. “I can accomplish everything that’s in front of me. WSP positively altered my life in a multitude of ways from beginning to end.”
Of those who have participated, 98 percent felt they will perform better in college because of the program, 99 percent felt the program helped them develop their critical thinking skills, and 100 percent said the program helped them learn to write more effectively.
“The Warrior-Scholar Project provides veterans with an opportunity to experience the University of Chicago first-hand, challenging them in ways that pay dividends as they return to the classroom,” said Sarah Starr, University of Chicago student, U.S. Army Reservist and former Warrior-Scholar Project program director at the university. “At the same time, the university benefits from the important insights military veterans bring to campus.”
The program is open to enlisted military veterans of any skill level coming out of the military.
Executive Director of WSP Dr. Sidney Ellington discussed the specific goals of the University of Chicago boot camp.
“The program at the University of Chicago will tap into the immense potential of Post-9/11 veterans and reduce obstacles to success, addressing veterans’ misperceptions about college and building their confidence through an intense academic reorientation,” Ellington said.
To learn more visit warrior-scholar.org.